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The Trip That Turned Your Brain to Mush

Everybody has those moments when they are sitting at work or daydreaming at school, and thinking back to their last vacation. The relaxing days in the sun sitting on the beach seem long-passed when you are sitting in your quiet office listening to the sound of rain hit the windows. When you return from your vacation, you may not be feeling at the top of your game. Unfortunately, that relaxing vacation of yours may have taken a toll on your brain, especially if you took a trip to the tropics.

Your vacation may have greatly affected your mental function ability. The stress of planning your trip might have been difficult, and sometimes can ruin the entire trip if it is not perfect. That’s what vacation planners are here for!  You could try giving  them the planning job to save yourself some time and avoid stress.  It is true, though, that when those lengthy emails start coming in from the hotel or from the vacation planner you may experience “email bombardment”. A study from London describes that as someone waits for an email, their concentration is off track.  They are trying to be mentally prepared for the email they are going to receive instead of focusing on other tasks. This email overload can actually reduce your IQ by up to ten points.

Then there was the transportation to your destination. When you were up in the air and on your way to your destination, you felt the dryness in the air. To worsen this problem, you may have said yes to the alcohol when it came around. Depending on what you were drinking, it’s possible that you dropped your IQ ten to twenty points when you consumed your beverage while in flight. Alcohol can cause you to become more dehydrated in the dry air of a plane, so in the future it is best to just stick to water or reduce your alcohol intake.

All those months of exercise for that bikini body really paid off, but the exercise should not stop there. Inactivity while on vacation can reduce the amount of oxygen that enters the brain, causing certain nerve cells to degrade. To prevent this from happening, it is best to stay active on your trip with daily walks or some laps in the pool. Since you may be in a hot place, doing those laps in the pool may be your number one choice since it is refreshing. Some people may also prefer a nice cold beer to keep cool as well, but this may not be the best choice. Those overly cold drinks can reduce your IQ by up to 10 points since your body is rushing the blood from your brain to your stomach to balance the change in temperature.

To avoid this brain melt-down, it is best to just stay active on your trip, keep your brain working by playing intellectual games, and keep hydrated! These vacation after-effects should only last a couple of weeks before you feel back to normal. There are still many benefits of vacations such as helping us reconnect with ourselves, promoting creativity, and lowering stress levels. Be sure to leave a day or two after your vacation before you go back to work so you can feel at home again!

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-BS Pharm, PharmD, RPh

Dr. Paul Zickler is a graduate of the University of Wester Ontario in 1972. After graduating from the faculty of medicine, Dr. Zickler practiced as an Emergency Physician for 18 years. He has then operated ambulatory medical and travel clinics for 12 years. Dr. Zickler has become an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of British Columbia, a Director of Professional Programs for the Justice Institute of British Columbia (paramedic academy), a principal investigator for Phase 2 and 3 studies researching vaccines, and a founding member of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association. Dr. Zickler is passionate about combining western prescription medicine and natural medicines.

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