Traveling and germs unfortunately go hand in hand but the good news is, there are plenty of ways to help combat that bacteria and keep you as healthy and safe as possible. There’s never a convenient time to battle a cold when you’re on the go but we’ve all fallen victim to it at some point. Since planes, trains and automobiles are a big part of my life, I have adapted some habits that I know have spared me some icky viruses throughout my travels. As always, maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle regularly is the best way to prevent illnesses so make it a point to continue your efforts even when you’re not on the road!
1. Take your vitamins! If you don’t normally take vitamins everyday, I won’t tell your mother, but when you consider just how beneficial it is to your immune system you might be more mindful about it. However, if you’re only willing to pop a few for your travels, I highly recommend packing some vitamin C, zinc and echinacea. Take the recommended dosage before leaving for the airport and be sure to pack extra in your carry-on. Vitamin C boosts your immune system and has plenty of antioxidants. Zinc protects your from colds and aids in digestion as well as relieves stress. All very helpful, especially when we fly. Echinacea is widely used during cold and flu season to stimulate cells responsible for fighting illness.
2. Keep your kisser clean! Not only will you appreciate soft, moisturized lips but using chapstick or my favorite, Aquaphor, helps to protect you from coming in contact with germs. For additional protection, use a Q-Tip to apply a bit to the inside of your nostrils. I keep a travel sized Aquaphor in my bag at all times for dry lips, hands/cuticles, fly-away’s and repelling those yucky germs. Now, if only it repelled bad pick up lines.
3. Be sugar free! It’s hard to pass up Cinnabon, I know, but the more sugars you consume, the more susceptible you are to getting sick. If you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, try opting for fresh squeezed orange juice. Let me also clarify that by fresh I mean squeezed on the premise at the time of ordering it, not just what it says on a bottle. It’s a healthier sugar and gives you a boost of vitamin C, which you can only get from fresh squeezed OJ! Fortunately more and more airports are catching on to the fresh food movement and are providing healthier options in terminals. Gum, dried fruits and granola (in moderation) are great snacks to curb your appetite and give you that taste of sweetness you crave.
4. Hands off! Our hands come into contact with people, places and things all day long. On average, we touch our face (eyes, nose, mouth) approximately 10-15 times per hour. That gives bacteria plenty of opportunities to make their way into our bodies. Be more vigilant about what you touch and how often you disinfect your hands. Carry antibacterial gel with you and use it regularly, especially after shaking hands with anyone or handling money.
5. Hover and hold! I really don’t think I need to elaborate on this one but ladies, never, EVER sit on a public toilet without the proper barrier between your skin and the seat. Better yet, hover and hold to avoid contact altogether and use your foot to flush. On the upside, the longer you hover, the better your glutes will look. Winning!
6. Hydrate while you migrate! Drinking enough water seems blatantly obvious but most of us don’t. Flying dries you up, particularly your mucus membrane which lowers your resistance to infections, so it’s important to rehydrate ourselves to keep our bodies functioning properly and eliminating waste. Staying hydrated also prevents headaches and creates a better environment for your cells. Sodas and bottled juices are tempting when they come around with the beverage cart but they’re filled with tons of sugar and will only make you feel more bloated and thirsty. If you prefer something with a little flavor, opt for a caffein-free tea. I bring my own tea bags with me, since I prefer a better quality than what most airlines offer.
7. Give it a break! As an avid traveller, I am usually always on the move– before, during and after travel. It’s a nonstop cycle for me which means there are undoubtably days where I don’t give myself sufficient down time. I have a horrible habit of waiting until the night before my trip to pack and sometimes it doesn’t allow me enough time to get a full night’s rest. My mom always says, “You can sleep when you’re dead” but without that R&R your body won’t be able to fight off germs or reboot it’s programs. Just like a computer, we need to shut ourselves down once and a while in order to keep things running properly!
8. Sock ’em! Taking off your shoes may be mandatory at most airports these days but socks should absolutely ALWAYS be worn when passing through the security checkpoint. If you think about how many thousands of people trek through the airport each day and don’t wear socks, it leaves plenty of chances for bacterial or fungal infections to take place. No thank you!!