Needless to say, an airplane is not the ideal environment for anyone's immune system right now. But, there are some categories of essential travel. Regardless of whether you're protecting from pandemics or just traveling "normally," protecting your immune system in transit is key to enjoying your trip!
How I prepare:
When booking a flight:
I always get a window seat as close to the front as possible.
A handful of reasons: I am tall, so I like extra legroom, but I also like being able to face away from the plane. And be close to the bathroom (more on this later.) And looking out the window is fun!
AND it keeps you from potentially sitting between people who are sick or being on the aisle, where literally everyone bumps into you on the way to their seats, and many many more hands brush by your armrest.
3-7 Days Before Travel:
1. Take a couple of Emergen-C or Nuun hydration tablets - one in the morning, one in the evening.
2. Cut sugar (yep, all of it - this includes booze). I don’t eat much sugar to begin with, but I am way more diligent before travel. 100g of sugar (about what’s in 2 12oz sodas or a handful of Christmas cookies) can compromise your immune system by up to 50% for up to 5 hours after consumption.
Sugar and Vitamin C bind to the same receptors on your white blood cells - Vitamin C makes them zoomzoom around sucking up baddies, sugar essentially leaves them on the sofa playing video games with zero interest in consuming harmful bacteria.
So, if you run into a germ post sugar binge, you’re like the Millennium Falcon without a deflector shield - totally exposed to Imperial forces! Think about that next time you grub a piece of pumpkin pie and then head to the mall for some Black Friday shopping. YIKES.)
3. Up your adaptogen intake. 🚨Shameless plug alert! 🚨I drink as much Original Rasa as humanly possible when I know I have to travel. (Until I can figure out how to sneak it through security pre-made I will just have to be content with a week of chugging.)
Adaptogens like eleuthero, ashwagandha, rhodiola and reishi (all found in Rasa!) regulate your immune system, and counter the immune system suppression caused by stress (even with all the parties and chill time, there’s still stress - holiday dinner table cliche didn’t come out of nowhere) Want to know more? Read all about how adaptogens affect your immunity here.
Need to stock up? Shop Original Rasa.
4. Start taking Cold Snap or Kick Ass Immune (that’s what it’s called 🙊 don’t @ me for language!) rather aggressively. I take probably twice the recommended dose, but I know my body and what it needs, so you just have to figure out what feels right to you.
The Day Before:
1. Eat light. Cabin pressure can do weird things to digestion, so to avoid bloating I stick to mostly fruit and veggies with a little protein.
2. Prep snacks! I like to bake a small sweet potato and top it with either coconut oil and salt or almond butter and cinnamon, and take a package of dried salami. This way I get a little protein and fat and a little carb and I won’t be tempted by plane snacks. Also one less thing that someone else may have touched. Yes, I’m a crazy lady.
3. Drink a ton of water. Duh.
4. Get a good night’s sleep. Double duh.
5. Pack your bags! (TBH - I start packing like a week before because a) I am a Sagittarius so B) I freaking love travel and c) I am a little obsessed with creating the perfect carry on that is both light and easy and also addresses everything I could possibly want to do on a flight.)
My necessities for staying sane and healthy in the air:
1. Anti-bacterial wet wipes. For real. Before sitting down, I wipe the armrests, my seatbelt, my tray table. Anything that I might touch with my hands.
2. Dr. Bronner’s Hand Sanitizer. I love this for travel because it doesn’t dry my hands out nearly as bad as regular hand sanitizer. And natural and organic: always good. I like the lavender scent so I can spritz in the air if I have a sniffly neighbor for “aromatherapy!”
3. Hand lotion. Weleda skin food is my fave.
4. Enough Cold Snap and emergen-C to take in-flight.
5. Eye drops. Plane air is super dry and my eyes have struggled since I did accutane a decade ago. Ugh the price we pay for beautiful skin.
6. Chapstick. Because: plane air.
7. A water bottle. I always bring my own because: sustainability, baby! I drink one on the way to the airport and finish it before security. Fill it up in the concourse, drink as much as I can, and make sure it’s full again before boarding. Also: why I sit close to the bathroom.
8. Snacks (see above).
Pro-move: A sheet mask. I used to always get a zit when I flew (I know, not technically immunity related, but can def feel like being sick especially when going home to see family, ex-boyfriends from high school, etc.)
A physical barrier between your skin and the dry air of the plane and staying mega-hydrated are the keys to avoiding this little bonus traveler. Also: this is why I’m obsessed with drinking water and sitting close to the bathroom.
A mineral sunscreen works great as a physical barrier and since I started applying it before I get on a plane, I haven’t had a travel zit once.
A hydrating sheet mask adds moisture back into your skin before you land, is easy to travel with, makes you look glowy and no more crazy than wiping down your seat with antibacterial wipes, spritzing hand sanitizer or going to the bathroom five times, so you’re good.
- Eat light.
- Drink water.
- Apply aforementioned mineral sunscreen.
- Dab a little Neosporin in your nostrils with a Q-tip (yes, weird!)
- Get there early! No need for the additional stress of traffic, long lines, or potential gate changes! And it gives you a chance to drink more water. 😉
Unrelated to immunity: I can never sleep on planes, so I download a few movies, bring my kindle with a good book, and always have my headphones (which often get used as a decoy to avoid overly talkative neighbors even when I’m not listening to anything). I avoid buying wifi if I can and just enjoy a couple hours of downtime because: stress reduction!
Have any travel tips you can’t do without? Please share them in the comments, we 💛 to hear from you!
Author: Catie Webster