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It’s the holiday season and many of us will be traveling to see family and friends as we partake in the festivities that make this time of year so special. While there are many things to check off of your to-do list before traveling, it’s important to keep your health in check before, during, and after your flight. Here are five ways to prevent getting sick while traveling.
- Continue your routine of healthy habits. Getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet are all ways to help keep our immune systems strong. Maintaining this routine during the holidays helps us stay healthy while sharing closed quarters of transportation with strangers who may be sick. While packing your bags, be sure to take a daily multivitamin, vitamin C tablets, and a preventative dose of a ginseng product with you.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Flight cabins have low levels of humidity, which makes us more susceptible to catching a cold. When our nasal and oral cavities are dry, it is easier for a virus to attach itself to our bodies. Once you have been cleared through security, purchase a large bottle of water to take with you onto the flight. Try to stay away from caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. Bring over-the-counter nasal spray, gel, or balm with you in your carry-on.
- Bring all prescriptions with you and keep in your carry-on. You never know when an emergency can occur, so it’s important to keep all of your medications within close proximity. Keep all medicine in its original packaging with the label still intact.
- If you are at risk of DVT, check with your doctor before flying. If you are at risk of blood clots –especially if you’re a smoker, over the age of 40, or you’re a female over the age of 35 and you’re on birth control or hormone replacement therapy – talk to your doctor before flying. Developing DVT while flying isn’t a huge risk, but it can occur during longer flights. Your doctor will be able to tell if it’s safe for you to travel by flying and if it’s possible for you to take a low-dose aspirin before boarding the flight. Compression stockings can help improve circulation, as well as flexing your feet and walking around the plane’s cabin hourly. If you feel shortness of breath, chest and/or leg pain, or if you notice a raised and red hard spot on your leg, notify a flight attendant immediately.
- Be cautious of contamination. Take alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you and apply after touching any common surfaces. Also, use when wiping down your tray. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth while on the plane and bring a travel sized bottle of mouthwash with you to use on the flight. Rinsing once or twice during long flights can help disinfect your mouth from the germs present in the environment. It may be a good idea to pack a disposable facemask in your carry-on, as you could end up sitting next to someone who is sick.