How to Stay Well During Air Travel

Getting away to the sun and warmth is such a pleasure when it is so cold and bleak in a deep February freeze. But how do you make sure you don’t pick up a nasty bug on the plane surrounded by all the other coughing and sneezing Canucks trying to get the sunshine?

Below is what the StoneTree team recommends. We’ve used this plan on ourselves and our patients for many, many winter trips. It’s simple and it works great!

The day before you get on the plane:

  • Book in for an immune-boosting IV.  This infusion of vitamins and minerals is high in vitamin C, and super-charges your immune system

The day of the flight:

  • Upon waking drink at least 500ml of water
  • Take 2 capsules of Echinacea (a double dose of a liquid preparation)
  • (For those who cannot take Echinacea you can use oregano oil)

When you get to the airport:

  • Once through security buy two 500ml bottles of water
  • Put a packet of Emergen-C into each of them.  (If you do not have Emergen-C, you can use any other vitamin C at a dose of 1000mg)
  • While waiting to board drink one of the bottles

During your flight:

  • Take 2 more Echinacea upon boarding
  • Drink the 2nd bottle of vitamin C water during the flight.
  • Drink as much water as you can throughout the flight. Doing your best to keep your mucous membranes hydrated keeps them strong. 
  • Avoid sugar, which suppresses the immune system. 

Once you arrive at your destination:

  • Take your last dose of 2 capsules of Echinacea
  • ENJOY your trip!

On the flight home:

  • Repeat the same routine as the flight down. 

Upon arrival home:

  • If you were seating next to a “typhoid Mary” on the plane, you partied more then you rested on your vacation, or you just have that feeling you are fighting something, book in for an immune-boosting IV as soon as you can. 

Enjoy your happy, healthy and safe travels!

H1N1 is Back–Here Are Our Best Prevention Tips

This year’s flu season is in full swing, and according to authorities, it’s the worst since 2009. The predominant circulating strain this year is Influenza A-H1N1 (swine flu), and it seems to be hitting kids the hardest.

Whether or not you decide to get the flu shot there is much you can do to prevent the virus from taking hold in your kids and in yourself.

1.Decrease your exposure to the virus:

Influenza is a respiratory infection and is easily spread. Wash your hands often, and if you can’t, use hand sanitizer (triclosan-free please). Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. But most important: if you are sick, STAY HOME. Missing a day or two of work or school is better than spreading the virus around, but more important, it will help you heal.

2. Increase your body’s ability to fight potential infections:

  • GET LOTS OF SLEEP if you are feeling a little dragged out.
  • Get outside and go for a gentle walk in the fresh air. Clear out those lungs!
  • Drink lots of water and eat lots of soups, stews, and curries. Avoid sugars and white carbs. 
  • Supplement with daily vitamin D and vitamin C.

3. Boost your immune system, preventively:

Research during the last H1N1 pandemic demonstrated the value of the herbal medicine Echinacea for the possible treatment of influenza. In-vitro studies showed a decreased uptake of the virus by the human cells, and in mice models, the infected animals getting Echinacea got less sick.  

The research is not conclusive, of course, but Echinacea is a remarkably safe herb in both kids and adults. A daily dose through the cold and flu season may have some benefit.

If You’re Sick

If the flu has already got you, the best tool we have is IV vitamin C. This dramatic case study of its effectiveness in a case of swine flu in 2009 made it all the way to prime time:

We have seen IVC do wonders for all kinds of viral infections and it is a big player in our cold and flu season tool-box. 

Supporting your immune system can be different for each person. Book an appointment with your ND to determine the best plan for you.

The Math of Habit Change

The start of a new year marks a new beginning–it’s a compelling time to make a change for the better. Of course, those changes can be easy to promise but tough to deliver. Now, as mid-January approaches, many of us are finding our resolutions put to the real test!

Interestingly, resolutions often take the form of what you might think of as subtraction—things like cutting out sugar, curbing spending, or reducing screen time.

On the surface, this makes sense. Why not cut out the “bad stuff”? We seem to have an innate knack for demonizing things, and it’s only natural to want to get rid of the things we see as negative.

The problem with subtraction, however, is that it’s hard–particularly when it comes to ingrained behaviours like eating and drinking. Habits are essentially stored in the brain as neural connections, and that makes them easy to repeat, but difficult to eliminate. And habits that give us pleasure of some sort, like eating, shopping or screen-bingeing, are particularly difficult to break; when we don’t do them, our body’s neurochemistry prompts us to fire them back up again.

That doesn’t mean you can’t kick a bad habit. Not at all. But it might be worth considering whether adding might be more effective than subtracting in getting the job done.

For example:

  • If you commit to and focus on eating 8 serving of veggies a day, your belly might be so full of fibre that you aren’t really thinking so much about the chocolate bar.
  • If you commit to and focus on saving $5 a day in a jar, you might start to feel excited about your growing vacation savings instead of struggling with feelings of denial over the caramel macchiato.
  • If you commit to and focus on going for a 30-minute walk each day, that half-hour might just replace some of the time sitting on the couch watching Netflix.

Is this a magic bullet for change? Not at all. But if you find you’re struggling with your resolutions now the new year is really underway, it might be worth asking yourself whether addition might deliver better results than subtraction.