Crucial Items/Tips For Packing To AVOID Heat Stroke While Traveling This Summer!

Let Me Help You Pack

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome Makes It Tough To Attend Theme Parks, Zoos, And well, Anything That Requires Walking Or Standing In Heat and Humidity

How To Pack For A Vacation During Florida’s Heat And Humidity… or…well… Any Trip During The Summer

This post goes for just about anyone as most people have trouble when they are in extreme heat.

Our 10 year old son Nick suffers with a medical condition called POTS: Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome which is a form of Dysautonomia; which is a glitch in the nervous system where the blood does not flow to the extremities properly causing easy dehydration, rapid heart rate, blood pressure hypotension or hypertension. We believe may have this due to having Ehlers Danlos Syndrome – which he has a working diagnosis for. Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, “EDS” is a joint connective tissue disorder causing joint hypermobility, frequent dislocations and pain. POTS seems to go hand-in-hand with EDS or possibly EDS causing the POTS? Both being a form of Dysautonomia and both still a lot of research being done on these chronic medical conditions. POTS also creates dizziness and for some people like my son Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It can cause him to have extreme pain at random times, while it may wake him from his sleep or we may be arriving to a breakfast reservation and he spends most of the time in the bathroom. Thankfully Nick has a more mild case so it will pass with a little time some people are more severe and some bedridden. Individuals that are more severe with mobility issues should consider speaking with their physician before their trip and possibly renting a scooter or wheelchair.

When you know you’re going to Florida during the summer heat, OR ANYWHERE DURING THE SUMMER you have a lot to consider. The Florida Heat and Humidity Season typically starts in the Spring and ends late fall. But this goes for really any trip planned during the summer months in any part of the U.S. that requires being outside, in the sun, and lots of walking.

August 2017

Keep in mind during the summer months, no matter where you go people are on vacation so it will most likely be crowded – especially in Disney World. Prepare yourself for lines and when we are post-Covid most likely being in crowds once again. A lot of this will come in handy for walking zoos, museums, boardwalks, nature trails and pretty much any outdoor activity during heat and humidity. For POTS patients this list is pretty much a daily necessity regardless of weather. You can never be too prepared.

Hot and sweaty at Hollywood Studios in August 2019

Your Packing Itinerary:

  • Your Salt Sticks and Medicine! First and foremost, do NOT forget your salt sticks and whatever medicine you use daily! It is a pill filled with electrolytes and salts to help your body retain water. Make sure you have your acetaminophen and ibuprofen with you for any unexpected headaches or muscle pain. Link provided for salt sticks:
  • Cooling towels – I know you’re not supposed to but I pack mine in zip log bags with ice… Disney won’t let you enter the park with ice but you can ask for a cup of ice at any quick service. **TIP** Grab a FREE cup of ice or ice water from any quick service. Chewing on ice helps cool your insides. Link provided for cooling towels:
  • Lightweight Sun Umbrella – for when you’re tired of feeling the heat of the sun on your body. Comes in handy for parades – hopefully we will see them again in 2022?! But during the summer it rains often in Florida, so these are nice to have in your backpack for an unexpected rain storm. Link provided – click link for umbrella:
This isn’t the exact sun umbrella I purchased, but looks close enough to what we use. Easy enough to put on side of backpack.
  • Electrolyte Water / Gatorade: PACK YOUR OWN – Shoprite now has a Bowl And Basket Brand which is much cheaper than Smart Water. Smart Water and Gatorade are ridiculous at any park! Hershey Park let us bring in our own drinks and snacks. Disney World always lets you bring in as much food as you want. Some parks will only tolerate one drink per person, but you could always leave a cooler in your car (If you have it with you) in the parking lot and run back to fill up.
  • Pack Snacks – Nick tends to have some hypoglycemic symptoms (along with my Type 1 Diabetic husband). It is always best to have some salty or healthy snacks packed to help boost energy levels and prohibit crankiness. This rule falls true for just about anyone!
  • Utilize Disney’s DAS (Disability Access System) – *if you or a member of your party has a disability or medical condition where they are not able to stand at long periods of time: Disney’s DAS gives you the freedom to not have to wait in long lines. Simply pick a ride that you are not able to stand in, and someone scans your Magic Band – giving you a return time to enter Fast Pass. So you are not cutting anyone, just giving you the freedom to sit if you need to until the time to return for the ride. You set this up when you arrive at any Disney Park and if you ask there is always a Cast Member with an IPAD around to help you get started.
  • Neck Fans! – we basically wear Neck Fans the entire time we are walking parks, nature trails, boardwalks, zoos etc. Especially with having to wear masks for a while…
  • Breathable Masks – this stands for itself! Just ordered some masks off of Shop Disney and we are hoping they are breathable and comfortable – but time will tell. A lot of people find that the simple blue disposable masks are the easiest to
  • Lightweight/ Breathable Hats / Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen – a sunburn will not help anyone feel well especially if you are affect by POTS or another form of Dysautonomia. I love an easy stick-for-the-face sunscreen.

Links provided for neck fans:

I just ordered these new Neck Fans – we have yet to try them but I’ll let you know how it works out!

Hands Free Portable Neck Fan – Rechargeable Mini USB Personal Fan Battery Operated – these fans are rechargable and do not seem to hold a charge for an entire day… but you can always recharge during an afternoon break. The only concern I have is I broke one side because my hair got tangled in it.
These mini neck fans are always a must-have item in my Disney travel backpack!

You would want to consider bringing along a few pair of lightweight, supportive, breathable shoes. My son enjoys his Crocs but he also likes Under Armour Sneakers with his inserts. Everyone should bring more than 1 pair of shoes especially to Disney because you never know when you will get caught in a rain shower or down pour.

August 2019

My advice is to practice walking every day before you head out on your trip. Any vacation to any theme park, or virtually anywhere is going to be a LOT of walking. Try to get yourself in shape before you venture out. Start by trying to walk a half mile, and then after a week increase to walking a full mile each day. Not only is this beneficial for your health but you will avoid any unwanted muscle pain, blisters etc. Make sure you break-in, and wear whatever shoes you plan on bringing with you to ensure that they will be the upmost comfort.

My tip for any sore feet and muscles is this Epsom salt lotion that I purchase off Amazon as well as bringing some Magnesium supplements but please check with your physician first. Magnesium can also give you the runs, so you want to check into it prior.

Epsom Salt Lotion for aches and pains.
Amazon link below:

I also believe in soaking in Epsom salts when sore so I like to purchase Dr. Teal’s bath wash off Amazon, Walmart or Harmon’s Face Values.

Dr Teals bath wash for aches and pains.
Amazon link below:

Always soak with Epsom salts and use the Muscle It cream at night – because it does make you sleepy.

HOT TIP: if you decide to shower in the morning before you start your day, especially in Disney World, try a cool shower so you start out cool and refreshed ready for the day! Just remember not to use anything that will make you sleepy and definitely as cool of a temp that your body can handle and feel good!!

When staying in Disney World on property, try to pick a resort where you do most of the walking INSIDE.

If this is not possible financially, then try to pick a preferred room so your room is closest to the bus, food and lobby. Sometimes if you pay a little more for a better resort you do most of your walking inside the air conditioning and this is very helpful. Staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge vs staying at Art of Animation during the summer months can make a huge difference and pricing is comparable. Animal Kingdom Lodge has ALL of the rooms inside, so there is no need for extra outside walking in the heat, where Art of Animation can be a LOT of extra walking outside with no shade whatsoever. This can make a huge impact on how you’re feeling. Do not misunderstand me, Art of Animation is fabulous with fantastic Disney theming but while we stayed there in August 2016 in the Cars Section we all had heat rash from the extra walking in sun with no shade. Some of our favorite resorts with indoor rooms consolidated into 1 building, (or walk INSIDE between buildings) would be the Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Wilderness Lodge. Port Orleans French Quarter is an extremely small and shady resort so this resort may be fine, where Port Orleans Riverside can be a LOT of walking if you do not have a preferred room.*

Check out my YouTube Video on Packing Tips and prepare to have a chuckle

What tips do you have for traveling during the summer or in the tropics?

August 2016 – cooling towels

What are your future plans?

I would love to hear about any tips or suggestions you may have below!

New Lego Harry Potter Fawke’s, Dumbledore’s Phoenix

Mikey completed this 597 piece Lego in 1.5 hours

Thinking of going to Legoland NY? Click here for some hot tips!

Legoland NY June 2021 HOT TIP

Legoland NY is now open to everyone but by reservations only which you can access online through their website. Legoland NY officially opens to the public I believe June 4th or June 5th.

All but 2 rides are open at Legoland NY!

It is absolutely amazing – *but be sure to pack sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, a sun umbrella, neck fans. spray bottle and lots of drinking water because there is no shade to be seen and it is hot! Even waiting online for the very popular Ninjago Ride was outside in the blazing sun for about 30 min. Needless to say we were all sunburned and very overheated (since I forgot to pack sunscreen).

Hopefully the long lines will calm down as they iron out their kinks but until they do definitely prepare!

For some pictures and video previews check my Instagram account at FamilyPixieDust429 and check back regularly on my YouTube Channel for a tour at Family Pixie Dust https://youtu.be/N_QAFau-jKw

https://www.youtube.com/user/vbraga429/videos

Disney Igloo Backpack – New Packing Item For Theme Parks

Trying Out a New Disney Igloo Backpack

This year I found a new bag to try – an insulated Disney Igloo “Leftover bag” backpack. It has a front compartment for smaller items which I like. I always wear a Disney Fanny-pack anyway, to my keep my phone and wallet for easy use. I like this bag because it is completely insulated – so I am figuring we will keep our waters and cooling towels in there, instead of a regular backpack. It even has pockets on both sides to hold 2 drinks! I am going to give it a try this coming weekend at Legoland NY!

I decided to add some Disney magic to it and I glued some Disney patches to it – with e6000 glue. E6000 glue seems to be the popular glue everyone is using but the fact that it says it causes cancer made me nervous. So I wore gloves and glued outside. **I took wax paper to place over them and I used full baby wipes to weigh them down while they dried.

  • e6000 glue
  • gloves
  • glue outside
  • put wax paper on top of patches
  • add weight
  • let dry overnight

Link for Disney Igloo from Amazon:

https://amzn.to/3hWqrGr

I do have a lot of Disney backpacks that I use for all trips – even road trips / hiking etc. The backpacks I purchased from Disney World back in 2017 have come in great use – they have several comparments for separating and organizing with outside pockets to hold your drinks. They have been quite sturdy.

I also have a Disney Loungefly as well as a cheaper small backpack purchased at Animal Kingdom – both are small and we cannot fit very much inside. But now that my kids are getting older we do not need to carry quite as much anymore.

What are your favorite bags to travel with??? I love to hear about bags that work well.

Here is my video on how I pack for a night out on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore!

Clothing Essentials for Summer Vacation Travel

Are You Backing Up Your Smart Phone Photos?

DISCLAIMER: I am by no means responsible for anything that may happen to your photos, your iPhone or anything associated. These are my opinions and my suggestions on ways to help.

So with the news of being able to reserve a park pass for passholders only for the soft opening of Legoland NY I became really excited this morning! With thoughts of this and summer approaching, it has been a while since I backed up the photos on my iPhone and decided now is the time to save them and clear up my phone’s capacity for even more photos! I am so excited for all the photos to come this summer!! We all know how many photos we can capture while visiting WDW and I automatically get Memory Maker being an Annual Passholder! Follow me on Instagram – familypixiedust429 for our upcoming Legoland and Disney World Adventures and Content! https://www.instagram.com/familypixiedust429/?hl=en

I decided to attack this project this morning in the midst of my daily chores. I need to vacuum every day since getting a black lab/boxer puppy mix. I love her to pieces but the amount of hair is just overwhelming. I try to brush her every day – but it is just ALL over all the time – plus it is so fine it blows around so easily. Not to mention working on the laundry, folding towels, dishes, breakfast for my kids, drop off / pick-up for my younger son who went back to in-person school and his lunch etc – being at home is much harder than being at work! I should be going back to work this fall….

A few years ago I learned a hard lesson not to just save my iPhone photos to my WD External Hard Drive because I was also using it to work inside of Photoshop and I blew its brains out – losing all of my photos along with the work I created. Luckily I had some photos saved to the computer we were using at the time but I knew from then on I needed multiple places for storing my precious photos.

Google Photos

Google Photos easily automatically backs up all of your iPhone photos just by opening the app. I believe the phone needs to stay on and the app opened to save all. I just go into the phone’s settings to Display & Brightness, then change “Auto-Lock” to NEVER. Then you can create albums to organize the photos. It also lets you share as well. Don’t forget to go back in and change the auto-lock back after you are finished. You can also upload any photos saved from your computer to Google Photos as well.

Shutterfly

Although this app is a touch more difficult because it takes much longer to upload the photos – I like to have them in more than one place. To upload to Shutterfly I recommend doing this one night when going to bed. Make sure you are fully connected to the wi-fi. I would again change my iPhone’s Auto-Lock in the settings to never and then proceed into Shutterfly keeping it open. Here you can also create albums as well. This app seems to take several hours, so face your iPhone face down for the evening and let it upload from there. I also like having my pictures printed and mailed through Shutterfly as well.

WD External Hard Drive

This would be where you connect your iPhone and WD Drive to your computer. You would create files inside your WD Drive through your computer, and then access your iPhone photos (also through your computer). You highlight which photos you want to save and drag/drop to the file of your choice. I usually name the files by month and year. The problem I have been having with this method lately is that my computer loses my iPhone, or isn’t reading it correctly or does not obtain all of the photos. If anyone has any suggestions for this by all means please let me know!

Here is a link to a WD Drive on amazon – https://amzn.to/3f3tuLa

Uploading to Facebook is nice because your memories pop up – and you can make your albums viewable to you only, or specified people if you prefer. Instagram is also nice for saving photos as well.

With the thousands of pictures we are taking daily we have to make sure to keep up on saving them! I often wonder what will happen to all of the digital pictures when we are gone! AHH What a thought!

What are some ways you save your photos???

Legoland NY June 2021 HOT TIP

Legoland NY is now open to everyone but by reservations only which you can access online through their website. Legoland NY officially opens to the public I believe June 4th or June 5th.

All but 2 rides are open at Legoland NY!

It is absolutely amazing – *but be sure to pack sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, a sun umbrella, neck fans. spray bottle and lots of drinking water because there is no shade to be seen and it is hot! Even waiting online for the very popular Ninjago Ride was outside in the blazing sun for about 30 min. Needless to say we were all sunburned and very overheated (since I forgot to pack sunscreen).

Hopefully the long lines will calm down as they iron out their kinks but until they do definitely prepare!

For some pictures and video previews check my Instagram account at FamilyPixieDust429 and check back regularly on my YouTube Channel for a tour at Family Pixie Dust https://youtu.be/N_QAFau-jKw

https://www.youtube.com/user/vbraga429/videos

Disney Igloo Backpack – New Packing Item For Theme Parks

Trying Out a New Disney Igloo Backpack

This year I found a new bag to try – an insulated Disney Igloo “Leftover bag” backpack. It has a front compartment for smaller items which I like. I always wear a Disney Fanny-pack anyway, to my keep my phone and wallet for easy use. I like this bag because it is completely insulated – so I am figuring we will keep our waters and cooling towels in there, instead of a regular backpack. It even has pockets on both sides to hold 2 drinks! I am going to give it a try this coming weekend at Legoland NY!

I decided to add some Disney magic to it and I glued some Disney patches to it – with e6000 glue. E6000 glue seems to be the popular glue everyone is using but the fact that it says it causes cancer made me nervous. So I wore gloves and glued outside. **I took wax paper to place over them and I used full baby wipes to weigh them down while they dried.

  • e6000 glue
  • gloves
  • glue outside
  • put wax paper on top of patches
  • add weight
  • let dry overnight

Link for Disney Igloo from Amazon:

https://amzn.to/3hWqrGr

I do have a lot of Disney backpacks that I use for all trips – even road trips / hiking etc. The backpacks I purchased from Disney World back in 2017 have come in great use – they have several comparments for separating and organizing with outside pockets to hold your drinks. They have been quite sturdy.

I also have a Disney Loungefly as well as a cheaper small backpack purchased at Animal Kingdom – both are small and we cannot fit very much inside. But now that my kids are getting older we do not need to carry quite as much anymore.

What are your favorite bags to travel with??? I love to hear about bags that work well.

Here is my video on how I pack for a night out on the boardwalk at the Jersey Shore!

Clothing Essentials for Summer Vacation Travel
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Our Experience with Covid-19 and Tips on What We Did to Treat It.

When you have something as serious as COVID-19, why not try everything in your power to battle it with home remedies and all?

While many people decided to continue to celebrate and partake in Thanksgiving festivities, my husband, our two children and I were isolated to our bedrooms positive with Covid-19 trying desperately not to pass it to my elderly parents who have a slew of pre-existing health conditions. This is our story on how we got through it.

Lucky for us, praying still and knocking on wood, none of us had to be taken to the hospital. Here is what we did to help and prevent it from going to our lungs. ** I am by no means a DR, so please check with your physician first on adding any new supplements, medication etc. to your daily regimen.

I am writing to inform you on everything we did to survive Covid – if you happen to know anyone who has it – there isn’t a lot of information going around for people that have it… and we believe what we did prevented it from going to the lungs.  Feel free to forward this information to anyone you think may have it. It can only help – cannot hurt. But for vitamins and medications everyone should always ask their doctor. ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN FIRST.


1) Keep moving – take walks several times a day – even if they are small walks – don’t lay flat / sleep on stomach – or in recliner but try to walk every half hour.  We took the kids for long walks in the driveway 3 times a day regardless if we had fevers. * If the sun is out, get your face in the sun for a few minutes every day.


2) Definitely take acetaminophen and ibuprofen round the clock – especially Ibuprofen or possibly asprin to avoid blood clots because for some reason Covid can cause blood clots. Talk to your physician.


3) We took Mucinex as a preventative. Unfortunately, our kids had cough and congestion so they took it for that but Mike and I took it for a few days to be safe even though we didn’t have coughs. (So yes, children can catch it and their symptoms can be mild – severe).


4) We all used Claritin and Flonase, as well as Saline Nasal Spray and humidifiers in our bedrooms as well as Vicks on the chest at night. The 4 of us take probiotics daily and the kids always take small doses of melatonin.  My husband and I took magnesium at different points during the virus as well. 


5) ESSENTIAL OILS – we strongly believe the Young Living Essential Oils blends we used helped with preventing chest congestion and also helps with fever.  The blend we used are: Frankincense, Thieves, Lemon, Peppermint, R.C. and Eucalyptus.  The Frank, Peppermint and Thieves all have antiviral properties and fight against infection as well as are good for upper respiratory. It is expensive but I have been using them for years when anyone gets sick – helps fight it.  *Apply 3 times during the day and when going to bed on  the neck, temples, spine and soles of the feet. 


6) Vitamins C, D, & Zinc – ask your physician how much is good for you. For our children they said 1200mg of vitamin C a day but we only gave them around 700mg a day and my husband and I took around 1000mg. We tried to eat a lot of fruit during this time.


7) We tried to eat as many anti-inflammatory foods as possible – I made a home made chicken soup and put turmeric, cinnamon and ginger in it…. Turmeric, Cinnamon and Ginger are all natural anti-inflammatories. 

8) Try to eat alkaline foods like almonds and watermelon and bananas. 


9) Stay hydrated – try beverages with electrolytes to avoid dehydration.


10) Bleach surfaces and silverware constantly. We tried to get a lot of throw away plates and cutlery : to make sure we got rid of the virus. 


11) Take baths in Epsom Salts – (we use Dr. Teal’s Bath Wash) supposedly magnesium helps drain the body of virus faster. I have found this information in my efforts researching my son with POTS and working diagnosis for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

Covid-19 can definitely affect your hormones, as it did ours…. So do yourself a favor and maybe not join the Covid survivor groups just yet. These groups have many survivors but also many people posting about their several loved ones lost to Covid. Reading too much information made my already-high-anxiety SO high, that at times, I felt like I wasn’t able to breath. When this happened, I just dabbed some R.C. on my chest and that helped incredibly. Out of whack hormones, and anxiety levels can and may last for months after having Covid. We even know of a doctor who committed suicide from having hallucinations that lasted 6 months post positive for Covid.

HALLUCINATIONS, HIGH ANXIETY & DEPRESSION CAUSED BY COVID:

Do not think that children cannot get it, because they can. My children had fevers, lots of chest congestion and cough. They were white as the walls and we still have some lingering effects like our fingers and toes always being cold etc. My 10 year old, Nick who suffers with POTS and has a working diagnosis for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome suffered with hallucinations about 6 days into being positive for COVID. He was hearing footsteps that were not there, and people talking. That was quite scary.

Nick’s anxiety was worrying about death for the whole family, especially since my elderly parents living with us were also postive so it was a very scary experience. Nick also was worrying about things like: at 10 years old now, so he only has “90 years to go”. Now that we are heading towards 2 months post being positive, Nick and my high anxiety levels have started to dissipate somewhat.

COVID CAUSED MY 10 YEAR OLD TO HAVE LOOSE ADULT TEETH

While in the midst of being sick, Nick (10 year old son) had extremely painful canker sores on his gums inside his mouth. It made it hard to keep up with eating and drinking. 2 weeks post positive, Nick’s front adult tooth became loose – where we could see him wiggling it. When I called the dentist he was astonished, and since not knowing any other Covid patients at this point, he said to make sure that Nicky did not wiggle it. After a week, it hardened up, but then another adult tooth towards the back became loose.

Covid also accelerated up my parent’s pre-exisiting conditions. For my father it made his diabetes go to extremes while sick – at times it went as low as a reading of blood sugar level 41 at some points and in the 500’s at others. My Mom already had a lot of back and hip pain – Covid accerlated all of that and also sped up her teeth issues. Four of her teeth have completely rotted in that short amount of time.

COVID CAUSED JOINT PAIN IN MY CHILDREN

Nicky always suffers with joint pain from having a hyper mobility disorder, but my older son Mikey who is heading towards becoming a teenager suffered with joint pain for the first time in his life in the midst of the sickness. While we had fevers and felt awful the joints in Mikey’s feet became painful as well as his knee joints.

Two weeks being post-positive and a week of being fever-free, Mikey had a surprise fever creep back up. As well as pain in his legs and feet. His bloodwork was tested (He had antibodies in the bloodwork) and looked good for being inflammation free but he will need to have an EKG at his next checkup.

ALWAYS THANKFUL & GRATEFUL

While we are so thankful for surviving Covid-19 and not having more severity, we continue to pray for all the countless lives lost to this horrible disease. We pray we soon find cures, answers and a vaccine to help the children as well .