Monday, June 11, 2012

3 Ways to Keep your Family Healthy for Summer Travel

Guest Post: Dr. Cameron McIntyre ND, Naturopathic Doctor

Believe it or not, the end of the school year is a really common time for kids to get sick. Everyone is tired after all the year-end activities, and ready for the lazy days of summer.  This is exactly when immune systems can be run down and easy targets for a virus. Most families have made plans to get away somewhere this summer - be it camping locally, a trip to your family cabin, or hopping on a plane to a bigger adventure. To help make sure everyone in your family enjoys your summer plans, here are a few tips to boost your immune systems and stay healthy. Find out more during our Boost your Summer Immunity Facebook Q&A with Dr. McIntyre this Thursday, June 14th, 10am to 8pm PST. You'll be able to ask any questions you like and receive answers from an expert!

  1. Stay Hydrated: Forget the pop, juice and energy drinks - make sure to take water in the car.  Pack your own, ice-filled fresh water bottles - even pop in a lemon wedge or cucumber slices to help you stay cool and refreshed.  By the time we are thirsty we’re already dehydrated, and even if it means taking a few extra bathroom breaks along the way, this is much better than grumpy travellers with headaches.
  2. Pack Healthy Snacks: Take a few minutes to put throw together some portable, healthy snacks. Take advantage of the amazing local summer fruits coming our way - like nectarines, blueberries, raspberries & cherries. These sweet treats provide all kinds of vitamins and anti-oxidants. There are so many innovative portable snack containers that make it easy to keep fruit intact without going squishy, there's no reason now not to take them along.
  3. Don’t Forget your Vitamins: Did you know that we can still be Vitamin D “deficient” in summer if the weather is poor or if we are constantly slathered with sunscreen? When sunscreen is on the skin, you do not get as much vitamin D conversion, so it’s a good idea to still stay on this supplement over the summer. While it’s true that we typically need fewer supplements when we are exposed to more sunlight and eating a rainbow of colours (ie seasonal fruits & veggies), it’s still worth reviewing the list below to see what supplements you should consider.
Supplement Suggestions for Kids:
• Vitamin C - 500 - 1000mg. Children's Emergen-C is a great option that tastes good. Packages are easy to travel with and mix well with water.
• Vitamin D - 400-1000 IU per day depending on age. This is an immune booster extraordinare for kids.
• Probiotics - Take before breakfast and bed with a children’s formula probiotic or approx. 6 billion strain. Tummy health and immune health go hand in hand, especially for kids.
• Fish oils - Healthy brain and skin but also a natural anti-inflammatory for respiratory infections and allergies. It now comes in flavored chewables to make it more appetizing! 1 teaspoon a day should do the trick.

Supplement Suggestions for Adults:
• B complex - 100 mg in morning after food. For energy, stress, brain health and detox. When stress is high, immune function is low. This will help keep you going.
• Vitamin C - a classic - 1000 mg 2-3x/day. Immune and adrenal (stress) support.
• Vitamin D - 1000-3000 IU per day depending on sun exposure. If poor weather or using a lot of sunscreen, keep the dose higher. Great for immune systems all year.
• Probiotics - 1 capsule before breakfast and bed (6 billion active strain minimum). Should be kept in a fridge or cooler but can last 7-14 days outside of fridge if needed.

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