Wednesday, November 23, 2016

FOX 21 How To Stay Healthy on a Plane

Many travelers would swear that they get sick after every trip or vacation. They wonder if it was the food, the water, the pina coladas -- or, like me, the airplane ride. While I don't think you can count out the pina coladas (or that burrito you bought on the street), it turns out you could be right about airplanes; the most likely culprit: extremely low cabin humidity.
Most commercial airlines fly in an elevation range of 30,000 to 35,000 feet, where humidity typically runs at 10 percent or lower. At very low levels of humidity, the "natural defense system" of mucus in our noses and throats dries up and is crippled, creating a much more tolerant environment for germs to infect us.
Tips to Avoid the Airplane Cold
1. Stay hydrated. It turns out that drinking plenty of water will not only counter the overall dehydrating effects of air travel, which can lead to headaches, stomach problems, cramps, fatigue and more, but can actually help your natural immune mechanisms to function considerably better. In an airplane, where your nose and throat are on the front lines of the war with exceedingly dry air, these are the first places to suffer. Sipping water or some other fluid regularly throughout the flight may be more effective than drinking a lot of water at one time. Additionally, hot drinks are a good way to keep your protective mucous membranes working.
2. Keep your hands clean. Your hands are the most consistent point of first contact with cold, flu and other germs. It is a direct line from armrest/ handshake/seat back to a full-blown fever a few days later. Hand washing is not just for restaurant workers and travelers; If possible, wash your hands before any in-flight meals, and after your flight as well.
3. Don't forget the dental hygiene. Just as keeping your hands clean can prevent transmission of germs, using a germ-killing mouthwash in-flight may add another layer of protection while simultaneously helping to keep your throat moist. Just make sure your mouthwash bottle is three ounces or smaller to comply with the latest carry-on rules for liquids and gels.
4. Take your vitamins. The rapid response effect of vitamins is unproven, but many travelers swear by them.  In addition, drinking an immunity booster chock full of Vitamin C such as Emergency C or Airborne is never a bad idea. Personally, I have no idea if it helps at all, but of all the flights I have taken, I rarely get colds. The department of health tells us that no conclusive data has shown that large doses of vitamin C will prevent colds, although it may reduce the severity or duration of symptoms.

For more information on this topic or any other travel questions please contact me.


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