Homeopathic First Aid: For Worry-Free TravelKashka Kril-Atkins, HBSc, DHMHS June 1, 2011
And the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high…”
Gershwin’s jazz standard always comes to mind as the season approaches and plans get underway for cottage weekends and family road trips. There is a temptation to modify the lyrics, though. “Blackflies are bitin’, And the temperature is high…” seems to more accurately reflect the realities of summertime in Ontario.
And so, for families across the province who gather around campfires and beaches, here is a handy reference list to take on the road:
Top 10 Homeopathic First-Aid Tips
- MOTION SICKNESS: Carsickness or seasickness can spoil the best day trips. There are several homeopathic remedies that can bring relief quickly, without the drowsiness often associated with conventional prescriptions. Cocculus Indicus will bring relief in cases of motion and sea sickness with vertigo and dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. There is often a sensation of hollowness or emptiness. Petroleum should also be considered if the individual is faint and pale, with cold sweat. Homeopathic Tabacum is indicated when the nausea is described as ‘deathly,’ with violent vomiting aggravated by the least motion. The skin is icy cold with chills.
- HEAT EXHAUSTION AND SUNSTROKE: Heat exhaustion can result from exposure to hot weather, due to the loss of minerals and fluid caused by profuse sweating or alcohol intake. Watch for excessive tiredness, cold/ clammy skin, headache, pallor, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and muscle cramps. Expect body temperature to be normal or slightly high, with rapid breathing and falling blood pressure. Veratrum Album should bring relief. Apply cold compresses to the head and body and sip water with an added pinch of sea salt. Note that following heat exhaustion, individuals will have heightened sensitivity to high temperatures and greater risk of recurring episodes.
Sunstroke is a life threatening emergency and can come on very suddenly, particularly in the elderly. The body’s inability to regulate temperature results in a high fever and often an inability to perspire, although there may be perspiration. The skin will be red and hot. Confusion and loss of consciousness are common, as are headaches, nausea, and visual disturbances. Attempt to cool the body and seek medical attention immediately. Belladonna and Glonoin are the two most common homeopathic remedies for treating sunstroke. Dryness and bright redness of the skin are characteristic of Belladonna. Glonoin patients will have an aggravation from motion, specifically bending the head back.
- PUNCTURE WOUNDS: Puncture wounds cause a risk of infection because they are difficult to clean and foreign bodies may penetrate deep into the tissue. Tetanus is of concern. Clean the wound and allow the wound to bleed (if not profuse), as the bleeding will help cleanse the wound. Ledum is well indicated in punctures, especially if there is ‘coldness or blueness’ of the injured part. Apis is indicated if the wound is swollen and hot, and is better with cold applications.
- INSECT BITES AND STINGS: If the stinger remains in the skin, do not pull, but rather ‘flick’ the stinger out with a credit card to minimize the venom. Apply ice or a cold pack to slow circulation in the area. Ledum is a good remedy choice to bring relief from insect bites and stings, since they are considered puncture wounds. Apis should be considered if the injured area is swollen, heat aggravates, and if hives develop. Staphasagria works well for mosquito bites that become large and irritating. Apis and Ledum are available in topical gel preparations.
- SUNBURN AND MINOR BURNS: Treat sunburn topically with diluted Calendula tincture, gel, or spray. For second-degree burns with blistering, apply diluted Hypericum tincture topically. Internally, Cantharis in homeopathic potency can be prescribed for burns and scalds with rawness, relieved by cold applications. Watch for signs of infection (pus, swelling, pronounced redness) and seek medical attention.
- ACUTE VOMITING AND DIARRHEA: If acute vomiting and diarrhea occur, help the gut heal by restricting food intake. Sip small amounts of water, flat ginger ale, or vegetable broth. Watch for signs of dehydration, especially in children. Signs of dehydration include dryness in the eyes or mouth, reduced urination, and loss of skin texture. Arsenicum Album is a good first choice remedy for acute GI distress, especially if there is restlessness, chilliness, and marked thirst. Ipecac should be considered if extreme nausea is the key symptom. Veratrum Album is indicated if the diarrhea is explosive and often accompanied by vomiting, and there is chilliness and great weakness.
- STRAINS & SPRAINS: Arnica is well known for treating injury where swelling, bruising, and inflammation are pronounced. Externally, Traumeel gel or Arnica cream can be applied to affected area. Internally, homeopathic Arnica in a 30 C potency can be taken every few hours to reduce swelling and inflammation. Follow with Bryonia if the pain is made worse by motion. Ruta is a remedy with a strong affinity for tendons and ligaments that have been stretched or torn. Consider Rhus Tox if pain and stiffness are worse initially but ‘limber up’ with continued motion.
- BONE INJURY: Symphytum has a particular affinity to cartilage and periosteum, and is helpful in speeding recovery of injuries to bone, particularly the ribs. Since the remedy is thought to speed healing, caution must be taken to assure the bones are properly aligned. Symphytum has also been used to treat eye injuries from blunt objects, i.e. balls.
- BRUISING: Arnica is the remedy of choice for bruising and is available in pellet form as well as topical ointment. Arnica effectively reduces swelling and pain and speeds healing. Consider Ledum for black eyes or bruises cold to the touch.
- BLADDER INFECTION (CYSTITIS): Symptoms include burning pain, frequent urge to urinate, and cloudy urine. Increase fluid intake to flush bacteria. Cranberry (unsweetened) juice is beneficial. Aconite is the first homeopathic remedy to consider. Cantharis is also well indicated in cases where there is much burning and intolerable urging with dribbling urine. Seek medical attention if condition does not clear within 48 hours, there is fever, swelling of face or extremities, or blood in the urine.
It is always recommended to consult with a qualified homeopathic practitioner, either in person or by phone, before travelling. For self-prescribing, a lower potency is advised (30CH) to stimulate the healing, ‘vital’ force of the body. In acute cases, repeat the remedy at 30 minute intervals until symptoms improve. If the correct homeopathic remedy has been matched to the symptoms, one can expect rapid relief. Convenient multi-remedy travel kits are available. Enjoy a fun-filled and healthy summer!
Re: Jet Lag – Here are comments from Robert Ullman, ND, DHANP and Judyth Reichenberg, ND, DHANP, LCSW, two American homeopaths:
“Gelsemium (yellow jasmine) is one homeopathic medicine that often works for jet-lag, because people who need it often feel dull, drowsy and droopy or fluish. We have also had good results personally using the commercial combination homeopathic, No Jet Lag, which is taken every few hours during the flight and afterwards if needed.”
Find their complete article at: http://vitalitymagazine.com/article/travel-well-naturally-with-homeopathy/
Kashka Kril-Atkins is a homeopath and the owner of BLUEPRINT Wholistic Health Clinic, an integrative Medicine Clinic and Shop located in midtown Toronto. For more information, please visit her website at http://www.blueprintwellness.ca or call (416) 932-3433.