When I arrived at our family beach house, my niece announced to me that Lucy, the Margate elephant, has black toenails this year.  Keeping up with elephant fashion is just one of our summer pastimes.

This trip had some unexpected twists including a summer flu (my husband) and a sun block break-out (my niece).  So in the spirit of helping others prepare for their summer travels, I thought I’d share a few things I learned on vacation.

–  Lavender essential oil: don’t leave home without it!  Over the course of the week I used lavender on sunburns, spider bites, hives, mysterious rashes, and over-tired hysterical children.  Worked like a charm each and every time.

Runner-up in the “don’t leave home without it” catagory:  Eucalyptus globulus essential oil.  My husband used this continually throughout the vacation and on the night I thought I might be getting what he had, I used it as well.  I could feel my sinuses, and my dread of getting sick, draining away.

As a bonus, my little niece loved it, so she’d hang out with me so she could sniff at the bottle.  Her favorite, however, is essential oil of “vaannnilla” as she constantly reminded me.  Its on my list to pack for our next vacation!

–  In a pinch check the tea cupboard and the spice drawer.  Tazo Chamomile tea came to the rescue when my one-year-old niece broke out in hives from getting sun block on her face.  It was looking a bit ugly with her eye swelling shut so we phoned and left a message for her pediatrician.

While waiting for a call back, we used the tea as a wash as well as giving her a few sips to drink. This, in combination with putting lavender essential oil on the soles of her feet, had the hives down so quickly that when her pediatrician returned our call she was fine.

Sage and thyme from the spice drawer made a helpful, if not too tasty, tea that I mixed with juice for both my husband and myself.

A summer flu is never fun but a local health food store had New Chapter’s Sinus and Respiratory formula, the market had fresh ginger, and my sister had Greenbriar’s Ear Clear formula so we all dosed up and made it through!

Pack your desert-island-pick.  For me, that would be thyme tincture.  I couldn’t find any in the local shops so it will be in my bag next time around!

What’s the one thing you most want when someone gets ill?