Easy Ways to Prevent Illness when Traveling by Airplane
By Keri Withington
Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, it can take a toll on your health. Especially if you travel by airplane, it is common to catch a cold, flu, or other illness. Here are easy things you can do to prevent illness when flying.
Weeks Before Traveling
If you know in advance that you will by traveling, start preparing weeks in advance by boosting your immune system. Your immune system is your body’s way of fighting of illnesses, and so you want it to be as strong as possible before flying. There are simple things that you can do to strengthen your body’s immune system before you board an airplane.
Start taking a vitamin C supplement, or increase the amount of vitamin C in your diet. Vitamin C is important to many of your body’s functions, and especially to your immune system. It is thought to help you to avoid infections, and, if you do get sick, vitamin C can help you to recover quicker. Don’t stop with vitamin C though. Make sure that you eat a healthy, well balanced diet in the weeks preceding your flight. This will help to improve your overall health so that you are less likely to get sick when traveling.
Additionally, cut out caffeine a couple of weeks before boarding a plane. Caffeine, even when consumed in beverages like coffee or colas, actually dehydrates you. This is bad because flying is also known to dehydrate you. It is also bad for your immune system, and so consumption of caffeine can leave you more susceptible to catching a cold or flu before or during your trip.
Days Before Traveling
In the last few days before you travel, you can really help keep yourself healthy by following a few common sense rules. Make sure that you are well hydrated. Being dehydrated leads to a variety of complaints, such as headaches. It is also very unhealthy, which means you are more likely to get sick when you’re dehydrated. As flying dehydrates you, try to counteract the effects by getting well hydrated in the days before your flight. Drink as much water as possible.
Also, get plenty of sleep. Traveling can be exhausting, and so you’ll be glad that you got the extra rest before hand. Additionally, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, then you are more likely to become run
down and catch an illness. Getting a good night’s sleep is an effective and simple way to strengthen your immune system before you travel.
During The Flight
You can’t help but be exposed to germs when you travel. Airports are filled with hundreds (and often thousands) of travelers on a daily basis, and so are filled with new germs every day. Additionally, no matter how well airlines clean their airplanes, they can’t eliminate the germs. Any time that you have a large group of people in a confined space, such as in an airplane, they are going to be exposed to illnesses, especially common ones like colds and the flu. In airplanes, the air systems during the flight effectively spread germs around the plane.
One simple way to prevent illness is to use a hand sanitizer. These are an easy and effective way to kill the germs on your hands before they can lead to an illness. Make sure to buy a small bottle that is within the liquid carry on requirements, and bring it on the plane with you. Use whenever you touch anything on the airplane.
Another way to prevent catching illnesses during your flight is to avoid sugar. It may seem bizarre, but avoiding sugary drinks and snacks while your flight can actually help you to stay healthy. Not only are sugary foods bad for our waistlines, they’re bad for our immune systems. According to The Environmental Law Centre, eating just eight tablespoons of sugar can reduce the effectiveness of our immune system by up to a whopping 40% for up to five hours!
Although it is common to get sick when traveling, if you follow these simple steps, you can prevent illness when you fly. Strengthen your immune system by eating vitamin C as part of a well balanced diet, and drink plenty of fluids. Cut out caffeine and sugar to boost your ability to fight off colds and the flu as well. Be well rested when you travel, and then use your hand sanitizer regularly. You really can travel without getting sick.