By Bridgette Ruge Barlow, MA CPT RHC
We’ve all been there—you go on a great trip and come back sick!!! Am I right? It happens,but you don’t have to fall victim to these germs every time you travel. There’s absolutely something you can do about it! The likelihood of catching a cold or flu increases with plane travel and being in large groups of people in close quarters. Since these situations are unavoidable while traveling, it’s important to know the tools you can use to keep yourself healthy.
Tip #1—Lead A Healthy Lifestyle Year-Round
The BEST thing you can do to avoiding illness of any kind, whether traveling or not, is to live a healthy lifestyle YEAR-ROUND! Doing this will ensure that your immune system is in optimal status and ready to fight off the bad bugs. The most important factors affecting the health of your immune system are:
- Eating 6-7 servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables
- Removing processed foods from the diet, in favor of whole natural foods
- Take a multi-vitamin to supplement what may be missing in your diet
- Hydrating with a minimum of half your body weight in ounces of water daily
- Exercising 3-5 times per week—with a combo of cardio and strength training
- Sleeping 7-8 hours per night
- Managing stress
- Not smoking
Tip #2—Take A Probiotic
Most Americans would greatly benefit from being on a daily probiotic year-round. 70-80% of the immune system is dependent on having a healthy gut! Factors that regularly wreak havoc on our gut include stress, antibiotics, processed foods, sugar, and environmental toxins. Taking a probiotic helps to ensure a balance of the good and bad bacteria in the gut. Traveling is a good time to bump up youruse of probiotics. Before, during, and after travel, bump up your probiotics to 2-3 per day. This will help the immune system fight off any invaders… and keep you regular too!
Tip #3—Stay Hydrated
Keep up with drinking as much water as possible while traveling. Did you know that flying in a plane is extremely dehydrating? Hydration is important to keeping the bowels moving. One of the most common heath issues with traveling is lack of regularity and/or constipation. While there are many reasons for this (such as change of routine, drinking more alcohol, eating less vegetables) dehydration plays a big role. Being “backed up” can lead to you feeling uncomfortable and bloated but also sick! If you can’t eliminate toxins, what do you think happens? The toxins make you sick!
Tip #4—Boost Your Vitamin D and Vitamin C
Your two most powerful vitamins for immune boosting are Vitamin C and Vitamin D. We always think of boosting Vitamin C when fighting off illness however, research shows that Vitamin D may be even more powerful. While it’s not recommended to take Vitamin D daily unless you have your blood levels checked by your doctor, you CAN take it for a short time while traveling to boost the immune system. 5000IU per day of Vitamin D3 while on your trip and the few days before and after will be very beneficial. For Vitamin C, “Emergen-C” is a great product that comes in a powered drink packet or tablet that dissolves in water. The other favorite of mine is the product “AirBorne” which comes in effervescent tablets and gummies! Take before, during, and after your trip!
Tip #5—Wash Your Hands & Don’t Touch Your Face
Wash your hands more than you think you need to and keep hands away from your face! Most cold and flu germs enter our system through our nose so HANDS OFF!
ENJOY YOUR SUMMER TRAVELS! BE SAFE! HAVE FUN! STAY HEALTHY!