I recently came down with the flu after my return from Madrid, Spain. This isn’t the first time that I’ve gotten sick after my return from a trip. This is what led me to do a little research into what I can do to prevent this from happening again.
What causes us to be more vulnerable to illness while traveling on planes? Many factors contribute to this:
• Our immune systems are already weakened by stress
• Time zone change takes a toll on the body— jet lag!
• Close quarters
• Lack of sleep
• Shared air
• Extremely low cabin humidity
How to stay healthy on your next flight:
Drink plenty of water. Those small cups of water simply aren’t enough, if you ask me. Buy extra water before boarding the plane, or refill a water bottle from home. Your hydration process shouldn’t start when you traveling, however— you should start drinking extra water before your trip starts!
Take your vitamins regularly. Be sure that you are on a consistent vitamin routine that doesn’t just start when you leave for your trip. You need to build up your immune system ahead of time. I like to up my vitamin intake when I know I’ll be traveling. I also like the Airborne and Emergen-C drink mixes, too! Those will also promote fluid consumption.
Bring disinfectant wipes. I always bring hand and disinfecting wipes with me when I fly. I wipe down the tray table, arm rest, head rest and even my phone and hands while I’m at it.
If you see that someone is coughing, sneezing, etc. on the seat next to you, asked to be moved. Yes, I actually have had to do this before. It may have come off as a little rude, but I am glad I did it. It is not worth risking illness. Usually the flight attendants are very accommodating and understanding to this issue.
Close the toilet lid before flushing in plane and airport bathrooms. The airplane restroom is a hotspot for breeding germs. Obviously, most people try to avoid touching toilet seats but don’t think about the spraying action of flushing.
Skip the cocktail. Drinking (especially on flights) can speed up dehydration and weaken the immune system.
Don’t touch the seat pocket in front of you. It’s the most convenient place to stash your stuff, but please consider this: Previous passengers could have put anything in there, like used tissues for example. Try keeping your personal item in your carry-on bag.
Use a saline nasal mist to keep your nasal passages moist. This effectively boosts your body’s own germ-flushing action. You could also apply a small amount of Vaseline or Neosporin ointment to the inside of the nostrils by using a Q-tip. A moisturized nasal passage will also prevent nosebleeds.