Traveling to visit family and friends can be one of the most fun parts of the holiday season, but why is it so hard to take plane trip and not get a cold or flu? Germs circulate so easily through the air conditioning systems on planes, and all it takes is one person to bring their germs on board for everyone to be at risk. Those germs have a captive audience! There are things that can be done to reduce the chances of coming down with a bug, so here are a few simple ideas:-
- Vitamin C – increase your vitamin C intake in the days (and preferably weeks) leading up to travels. Generally speaking, 1 gram of C a day is an ok maintenance dose, but during times of high stress and/ or travel, it might be warranted to take 3-4 grams daily. The body can only absorb so much vitamin C at a time, so smaller frequent doses are preferable to one large dose. Since vitamin C can act as a laxative if you take too much, you will want to experiment with this before your flight!! I like Liposomal C best as it’s easy on the stomach and has much better absorption. As an added bonus, vitamin C is good for the adrenals too
- Zinc – zinc is a great immune support, and can be good for countering viruses. Many poeple are zinc deficient and don’t even know it, so it can pulling down one’s immune system. Zinc absorbs better when taken at night (as many minerals do), and a daily dose of 50mg is pretty good.
- Vitamin D – I have talked in the past about the importance of vitamin D for the immune system. I typically have adults taking 5000 IU daily, ongoing. Before traveling I might take a single additional dose of 50,000 IU. It sounds like a lot, and I certainly wouldn’t do that every day, but it’s pretty safe to do weekly if you really need your immune system to be on!
- De-germ surfaces as much as possible on transportation, especially planes. Although they clean planes they don’t really sanitize them, so as soon as you get on board and start touching the arm rests and tray tables, you’re automatically exposed to viruses and bacteria. We can a protective essential oil blend on all our trips now, adding 10 drops to a spray bottle of water. So long as the bottle is 2 ounces or less it is fine to bring on board. Just be careful – my husband got a bit overenthusiastic about it and added upwards of 20 drops to a small spray bottle, and phewy, the whole plane knew about it!! Those oils are strong, so a little bit goes a long way!!
- Try to regulate sleep as much as possible- this is especially hard when flying long distances and changing time zones. Jet lag and lack of sleep can stress your body and suppress your immune system. I recommend using melatonin to help get the internal clock back on track. Melatonin is safe for kids too, in smaller doses of course, and often can be found in liquid form for easier administration. Remember that melatonin is better for falling asleep than staying asleep (it’s short acting) so sometimes combining a regular one with a prolonged release is more beneficial.
- Watch the sugar intake – sorry to be a party-pooper, but eating sugar suppresses the immune system. So while I’m not saying don’t have any cake or cookies at all during the holidays, I am saying you might want to skip the leftovers!! One teaspoon of sugar suppresses immune function for up to 16 hours!! Just saying …
We’re flying to Australia tomorrow night so I’ll be putting all these strategies into effect!! I also use that protective essential oil blend when I get there – I put 2 drops in water, gargle with it, then swallow it. Being with my family in Australia is precious time for me so I don’t want to spend it feeling unwell, so a bit of extra immune help is a small price to pay for being healthy and enjoying the time away.
I hope this holiday season is wonderful for you – stay safe and healthy!!!!