The Travel section's online chats on Oct. 10 and 17 yielded a medicine chest's worth of ideas about what to pack when you travel.
We ran the suggestions by infectious disease specialist Phyllis E. Kozarsky, a travel health consultant to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kozarsky declined to comment on items that she couldn't outright endorse.
"In general, we like to recommend items where there are scientific data to support their use in the event of illness. Thus, for the most part, we do recommend items approved by the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration]," she said. "We know there are many herbal products that are good, and in fact, there are many drugs manufactured from plant materials. We also know that many people find products that are helpful to themselves, although we are not in a position to recommend them to the general public."
With that caveat in mind, here are some of the health-related items our chatters say they can't travel without, and why.
* Zicam nasal swabs can "stop a cold in its tracks."
* Dramamine "works wonders if you've imbibed . . . too much of the local spirits the night before." Kozarsky okayed the stuff for motion sickness but declined to comment on this application.
* Tea tree oil, which works as "a natural antiseptic, germicide, antibacterial, fungicide. It works on cold and flu symptoms, cold sores and canker sores, toothache and gum infections, mosquito bites [and] as a bug repellent."
* Cranberry extract "can be helpful to help treat (at least initally) or prevent urinary tract infections."
* Sudafed "works great on a hangover."
* Medicated shaving cream or shaving cream with aloe "works wonder[s] on sunburns if you've forgotten to reapply the sunscreen."
* Saline spray for the nose "helps with dry airplane air and also washes dust, pollen, mold, etc., from my nose, minimizing allergy problems."
-- Jennifer Huget