WORDS PANK JIT SIN
It’s holiday time again and what do we do? We go on holidays. Gone are the days when kids are contented with stayovers at their cousin or friends’ houses. These days, kids INSIST parents bring them to exotic and new places. This, of course, is stressful to us. But being the loving parents we are, we submit to their requests and bring them to new and far off places.
While it may be fun to take in new tastes, sights and sounds, there’s something that we may miss—the new tastes often come with unwelcome side effects. Any change in diet can elicit a reaction from our digestive tract and bowel causing either diarrhoea or constipation. Then there’s the possibility of food poisoning if one is travelling in less hygienic areas.
Being someone with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and prone to diarrhoea and constipation, yours truly has learned to equip himself with an array of medication and supplements to get through the tough episodes and to allow himself the liberty of gorging on all the local foods.
Here are some common, but useful over-the-counter (OTC) medications that should be part of your travel must-haves. Please note that these are not endorsements.
- Activated charcoal. This is an absolute must. Not only does it bind to toxins, carbon particles also break apart the bubbles and gases trapped in our stomach. If you’ve overeaten or have a tendency to develop flatulence, then activated charcoal is your best friend. You do have to watch out for constipation the next day and of course, don’t be shocked when it comes out the other end and the toilet bowl appears to have turned into a black hole.
- Loperamide: this medication stops your purging episodes … STAT. You’ll still need to take it four hourly up to a maximum of six in a day. But this is a life saver should you develop the runs and toilets are not exactly easy to come by (or clean). The down side is you may develop constipation once the diarrhoea stops but I’m sure we agree constipation is preferable to watery diarrhoea.
- Digestive enzymes. I don’t go ANYWHERE without my digestive enzymes. The discovery of digestive enzymes has made life so much better for my family and me. Should we take something that is hard to digest or causes digestive issues, all we need to do is down a few enzymes and nothing awkward will develop ie, bloated stomach, cramps, nausea and more.
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen. These are a must for every traveler. Although we can find it everywhere around the world, the trouble of finding a store which sells them can be a hassle, especially if you’re on the go. The stress of traveling (with your children or in-laws) and the frequent changes in temperature or weather can sometimes trigger headache and joint pains. Having these two on standby prevents you from being bedridden from headaches and migraines throughout your holiday. They are also great for mild fevers.
- Domperidone. This is a medication that increases the movement and contraction of the muscles in your stomach and bowel. What this means is food clears faster and you get hungry faster, too. It is used to treat nausea and vomiting. The medication is sometimes used to promote lactation so breastfeeding mothers should take note of its possible side effects.
Even though most of the OTC medications stated here are generally safe, you should always check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if these products are suitable for your family or yourself. This is especially true if you are already on other drugs.
That’s all from me. Enjoy your holidays and be merry! HT
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