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Travel Prep for Now (and the Foreseeable Future)

how to stay healthy while traveling

This summer, we all need to understand how to stay healthy while traveling.

After returning home from her recent trip to Europe, my friend Dee seemed a bit cloudy. I chalked it up to jet lag. But then she told me she had a fever and was worried she’d caught COVID-19 on her trip. I knew she had been vaccinated, and although it was unlikely that she had gotten the disease, her concern was justified: Vaccinations aren’t 100% preventative for catching the disease. I asked her if she had taken any Vitamin C while she was away, but she had not. 

She then said to me, “You should write a blog about travel preparation for those of us who have been vaccinated.” 

So I thought, why not?!

I love to travel — but preparing for it has become more complicated in recent years. This may, in part, be because I’m older, but it also has to do with changes in the quality of hotels, evolving airline services, and the ever increasing cloud of seemingly ubiquitous radio-frequency radiation. 

During the next few weeks, I’ll be taking my two teenagers to East Africa for an extended vacation. We will be out in the bush searching for chimpanzees, gorillas, and the usual safari fare of lions, hippos, giraffes, elephants, and more. This trip required A LOT of preparation. Aside from the COVID-19 vaccinations, we were required to get vaccinated for yellow fever. I thought hepatitis A vaccines were a good idea too. I am not fond of vaccinations, but they are a useful tool and sometimes necessary. Choosing malaria prophylaxis was another important decision. We decided on malarone, a decision based on our specific travel destination and the types of malaria endemic there. 

Wherever you’re headed this summer, you’ll want to do your homework. The rules and regulations — whether those imposed by airlines or your destination — are changing often, even weekly. Flight times unexpectedly change. Some countries require COVID PCR antigen testing right before you leave for your trip and again after you arrive. In some countries, COVID tests are required every couple of days while you’re there! Masks are mandatory on planes and in many other countries, even if you have been vaccinated. It’s important to be flexible and patient. Or as we used to say in high school … be cool.

Domestic travel is a lot easier. But regardless of where I go, I bring along a a few necessities that make traveling much more pleasant and keep me healthy.

The List

  • A sleep mask

Hotel chains often have shades that “almost fit” the window. When glaring flood lights illuminate the outside of the building at night, they often light up the interior of the room, too. In addition, digital displays from the microwave, smoke detector, light switches, and clock further increase the ambient light in the room. Because melatonin production is dependent on being in darkness at night, the sleep mask is extremely helpful!

  • A pair of high performance ear plugs – NRR of 32 dB or greater.

The ears never turn off, so ear plugs can be extremely useful. This is especially true when you get a room near an elevator, or if hotel guests come in late at night and party in the hallway or in a nearby room. Please opt for the silicone or gel variety of ear plugs and STAY AWAY from noise cancelling ear buds which work via Bluetooth. There’s no reason to expose your brain to radiofrequency radiation when you are trying to sleep.

  • Supplements

I am in the habit of taking vitamin supplementation daily, and I take them with me on vacation — they’re an essential part of knowing how to stay healthy while traveling. At a minimum, I take 1000 mg of Vitamin C and 5000 iu of Vitamin D daily. These vitamins both offer important antioxidant properties that help the immune system stay in shape even if it gets hit hard by jet lag and late nights partying.

  • A portable water purifier

Although you can purchase plastic water bottles pretty much anywhere, I bring a portable water filtration system that allows me to drink the tap water in the airport, in the hotel, or anywhere else without worrying about ingesting contaminants such as lead, organic compounds and chlorine/ chloramine. I prefer the PiMag Sports Bottle offered by Nikken. They have redesigned the cap in the last few years, and now it works great! If I’m heading to the beach, I’ll also pack a silicone-wrapped glass or stainless steel canister to transport my purified water to the beach. It’s not a good idea to bring plastic water bottles to the beach, as sunlight and heat can cause the toxins in the plastic to leach out into the water.

Know that this water purification system and others like it do not sanitize the water, so if you are drinking water from a source that could have bacterial contamination, like a stream or an untreated well, you need to treat the water first, with either iodine tablets or a SteriPen before putting the water through the filtration bottle.

  • Sunscreen

In a recent blog post, I wrote about sunscreens. Sunblock and lip protection should be chosen with care (and in advance!) 

  • EMF shield

Too often, we don’t think about radiation while considering how to stay healthy while traveling. When I check into the hotel room, the first thing I do is unplug the clock radio and the heavy-duty outlets that now come adherent to the night stands on either side of the bed. I’ve taken my EMF detector into too many rooms only to see that the bed is often flanked by powerful electromagnetic fields until these devices are unplugged. During one hotel stay, I took the following videos showing the electric field strength and magnetic field strength emitted by a clock radio (electric fields)(magnetic fields).

Unfortunately, hotels have become anything but relaxing for many people due to the increasing demand for radiofrequency radiation from wireless devices. Hotel rooms are filled with radiofrequency radiation as you can see from this demonstration. If you are sensitive to EMF, there are several options for you to choose from, depending on your degree of sensitivity. A portable bed canopy is available and although it is an expensive item, I highly recommend it for someone with moderate to severe EMF sensitivity. 

Another product to consider is the Blushield. I use their portable travel device. Although I don’t think a device like this can prevent all of the potentially harmful effects of EMF, it does create an energetic calmness in a room, making it more conducive to sleep. 

I hope you find this guide helpful and that it helps you understand how to stay healthy while traveling this summer. We are all ready to go on vacation after being cooped up for more than a year. Have fun this summer and stay healthy!

Yes, I Got Vaccinated. Here’s Why.

As a radiologist who reads emergency room and ICU cases for a busy healthcare system in Phoenix, AZ, I can report first hand that COVID-19 is a terrible disease. In my capacity as an allopathic-trained physician, I recommended early on — before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic — that members of my community strengthen their immune system with antioxidants, including Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and zinc. I still believe this was appropriate advice, and it’s a regimen I continue to take daily. I am grateful to have remained healthy throughout the pandemic, as I hope you all have been.

However, over the past year, I have reviewed imaging studies detailing the damage caused by COVID-19 to patients’ bodies. It has been otherworldly. I have seen studies from hospitalized patients who suffered terrible disease. Admittedly, my view has been skewed because most people who become infected experience only mild if any symptoms and don’t go to the hospital. The risk for developing significant disease is estimated to be around 20 percent, or 1 in 5. We have all seen the increasing nationwide and worldwide death toll which hovers around 1-2% with older patients and those with pre-existing conditions more likely to succumb to the disease. This disease has killed a lot of people.

Many people — especially those who share my interest in holistic and allopathic medicine — think those numbers have been inflated by the media and that hospitals have routinely reported deaths unrelated to COVID as being caused by the virus in order to get more money from the government. In my estimation, if a person dies of a blood clot in the lung, and the tendency to form blood clots was exacerbated by the COVID infection, then COVID would be the underlying cause of death. I have seen plenty of young people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s with severe lung disease and devastating blood clots, which have caused strokes, damaged hearts, and destroyed organs. Over 540,000 people have died in the US alone, but just as many if not more have seen their lives changed forever. Last week, I read a case of a 20-something guy with COVID-19 who had a large blood clot in his aorta and smaller clots throughout his left leg. I imagine they were able to break apart the blood clots using a technique called thrombolysis and save his leg — but what the heck?!

If you have read about mRNA vaccines, you know they are a new technology. I read the science behind the vaccines and find it intriguing, and, truly brilliant. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are synthetic strands of mRNA that were created in a lab and are injected into your arm. This mRNA becomes absorbed into your body’s cells because it is surrounded by a fatty layer “liposomal” which can pass through a cell membrane. Once within the cell the mRNA becomes a template to produce the spike protein. This is the protuberant feature that allows the COVID virus to gain entry into the cell. The mRNA does not include code to create the whole virus, and so there is no way the vaccine could give you COVID-19. Once the cell creates copies of the spike protein, the immune system is stimulated to produce antibodies to the protein. These antibodies would then attack the actual virus should it be encountered in the future. The newly formed spike proteins aren’t composed of mRNA and aren’t surrounded by a fatty capsule, so they cannot get into new cells and have those cells produce more spike proteins in the future. The J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines work differently.

There are potential complications, which one must consider before getting vaccinated. Indeed, whenever I do a procedure on a patient, I start out informed consent by saying, “Whenever you enter the body with a needle, there is always the possibility for a complication.” For me, I decided that the very small risk of having a vaccine reaction was worth having the extra layer of protection to safeguard my health.

If you know my work, you know that I approach each vaccine individually and with caution. It’s not that I don’t believe in vaccine technology in general — rather, I believe that a healthy immune system, supported with a daily intake of antioxidants, should be the primary defense against disease. I don’t get an annual flu vaccine. My kids received a fraction of the “schedule” of vaccines put out by the CDC. Despite my resistance, I always said that if there was a vaccine for a disease that was a deadly and genuine threat, I would get it. This is what we, as a society, are experiencing. I do think it is important for everyone to make their own choice about whether or not to get vaccinated. And, I do believe decisions such as this should not be made out of fear. But I caution you to think carefully before opting out of this vaccine. Please make sure you understand the tremendous amount of destruction this disease can do to the body, should your immune system falter and succumb to infection. Also understand that the disease doesn’t have to cause upper respiratory tract symptoms and may not result in a loss of taste or smell. From my research, the virus can enter the gastrointestinal tract and could affect your heart or blood vessels before you develop pneumonia or any upper respiratory tract symptoms.

I look at the vaccine as a valuable tool in my protective toolbox. Because the virus incidence ebbs and flows, it is hard to know if we are at the tail end of this pandemic, and for how long it will remain amidst the general population. Getting the vaccine has allowed me to relax and become more sociable. Although each vaccine has a different success rate, aka efficacy, they all help prevent catastrophic disease and death, which is the most important goal. From what I’ve read, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 100% effective at preventing severe disease. You have no doubt heard that the J & J vaccine is also highly efficacious, but less so than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. In my estimation, the protection afforded by the J & J vaccine is good enough! And, it only requires one injection. The AstraZeneca vaccine has created controversy both in Europe and here in the US. At the present time, I’m not sure what to make of this vaccine. As the expression goes… tiime will tell.

Regardless of which vaccine you take, I suggest you be well hydrated before and after the vaccine to allow your body’s immune system to function optimally and keep things flowing properly. In addition, whether or not you decide to get vaccinated, I strongly suggest you continue to take antioxidants, limit your exposure to toxins, including electromagnetic radiation, and get good sleep.

Be well and stay well!