It's that perfect recipe where you are dealing with the holiday stressors, having to travel on a plane, AND it's in the height of cold and flu season.You're about to get on a metal flying petri dish and with just your luck, you sit next to the person who's looking kinda ghostly and spends the whole flight hacking up a lung. "Gee thanks unwell person for sharing your germs." Here are my "go-to", "readily available", top tips to keeping your immune system strong the day of travel.
Please note: this article is geared more to those who are currently NOT sick, although the tips could certainly be helpful for anyone.
Day before Flight
It's busy getting everything squared away, organized, and packed before you leave. I hope that through all of this you have been taking some adrenal support but try your best to get a good night's rest. Do your best to minimize family arguments. Maybe practice compassion and support for each other because travel can be stressful. This can also set the tone for the day of travel and the vacation to come.
Day of Flight
1. Minimize Stress
It's the holidays, you know the traffic will be heavy and the airport super busy. GET THERE EARLY. If you get there "too early" by your own standards, you might actually find that you've gotten there on time due to the hustle and bustle of this time of year. Even better, you get there early enough to CALMLY check in, walk through security, and casually "people watch" and find those who didn't get to the airport on time. Do you see what stress looks like on their faces? They're likelihood of getting sick on the flying incubator goes up.
Stress dampens the part of our immune system that fights viruses and bacteria. Stress literally suppresses that part of our immune called, Th1. Don't be that person ; )
2. 1,000 mg of Vitamin C
I prefer a liposomal vitamin C as this gets into the system faster but choose a vitamin C that will work for you. Emergen-C Packets, while not perfect, are readily available and kids like them. Take 1,000 mg BEFORE the flight, 1,000 mg DURING the flight, and 1,000 mg AFTER the flight. Then do this for the following 3 days to keep the viral load that you might have gotten exposed to down.
3. Eat Healthy at the Airport
Did you know the average American gains about 15 lbs during the holidays? Do you really want to be that person? You're also about to go somewhere for the holidays and you'll be eating lots of high caloric foods anyway. Can you wait another day or 2 before totally indulging yourself? Every airport will have healthy options.
Starbucks: grab a drip black coffee or herbal tea + a banana or protein platter
The News Stand: Every airport has a store like this. They provide trail mixes, healthy protein bars, turkey jerky, and other really healthy snacks. Yes, they are more expensive so I usually bring my home made date protein bars (see other post on this), an apple or 2, a protein powder/collagen powder, and my own trail mix or favorite snack. This minimizes temptation AND it's so much cheaper.
Healthy Fresh or Organic Food choice in the food court. You can usually find one in every major airport.
*If bringing a protein powder, put the serving size you want to travel with. Label the baggie and I also take a picture of the container ingredient list/label or rip it off and include in baggie. The security will probably swab or test the powder but it's never been an issue for me. Just know that they will test it but Dr. Lexi is always bringing powders and tinctures on the flight.
4. Hydrate and have a cup of tea
Bring your own EMPTY water bottle. All airports have those water fountains with filtered water. Again, it's cheaper than a $5 water bottle. Bring 9 tea bags of Traditional Medicinal Gypsy Cold Tea, Throat Coat, Echinacea, or Immune Boost Tea. Drink a cup BEFORE the flight, DURING the flight, and AFTER the flight. This will provide immune boosting herbs while you're being exposed to who knows what. Should you find yourself having an alcoholic beverage, go ahead and have one drink. Just don't get yourself completely drunk. That isn't supportive of a strong healthy immune system.
5. Zinc-Elderberry Lozenges or Ginger Chews
Zinc, Elderberry, and Ginger are all immune boosting nutrients and if you desire something to chew or suck on, these are my "Go-To's.
6. 600 mg of NAC- N-Acetyle-Cysteine
There was a study that was done that showed that NAC inhibited H1N1 and H5N1 flu virus replication. It also inhibit inflammatory cytokines or messengers that increased inflammation and thus contributed to becoming more prevalent to sickness. I would consider taking NAC throughout the flu/cold season if you can.
So here's your shopping list:
1,000 mg of Vitamin C (packet, chew, liquid, or capsule)
600 mg of NAC
Traditional Medicinal tea bags of choice (Throat Coat, Gypsy Cold, Breathe Easy, Echinacea)
Zinc Elderberry Lozenges
Protein bar/snack of choice
*Don't forget your favorite water bottle
If everyone on the flight seemed to be sick or your friends or relatives are all sick, I would continue the above as best you can through the entire trip. Keep your immune defenses up and strong the whole time.
Safe and Healthy Travels!