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8 ways to boost your immune system before flying

8 Jul 2021

Brought to you by TravelPerk, the #1 business travel platform.

8 ways to boost your immune system before flying

The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot about our world and our travel habits. As 2021 rolls on in full swing, we are still dealing with international travel restrictions, mandatory face masks on flights, PCR tests, proof of vaccinations, and more. As we get back to traveling domestically and abroad, staying healthy should be everyone’s #1 priority.

We already know that we absolutely should not travel if we have any symptoms of COVID-19. That’s Introduction to Post-COVID Living 101. But what implications does that have for when you have a cold? Or allergies? Or just a sore throat? Well, in that regard not much has changed as a result of the pandemic. People have always been apprehensive about traveling next to someone who is a little under the weather—and with good reason. Leading a healthy lifestyle has always been essential, but it just holds all the more true today in the aftermath of last year. 

So, how can you make sure that you’re fit and healthy for your upcoming trip? What can you do before you travel to maintain a strong immune system? Check out our travel tips to help you stay in top shape before your next trip. 

1. Use vitamin supplements before and during your trip

It can be quite difficult when you’re on the road to eat all the food you need for your immune system to operate at optimal levels. That’s why some vitamin supplements (always as recommended by your doctor!) can help you stay healthy and active. Vitamin D, for example, can be especially complicated to keep at a good level during the winter months. Studies have also shown that people under stress who take Vitamin C supplements are less likely to catch a viral infection. You can also start a regime of probiotics to encourage your body’s natural ability to fight infection and keep your digestive system on alert!

2. Apply COVID-19 rules in 2021 and beyond

Wear a face mask, sanitize or wash your hands, and maintain social distancing from others. This was a common practice in Asia even before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and is something we should apply when suffering from the flu or a cold. That way, if we sneeze into our masks, for example, we prevent the spread of whatever pathogens we are harboring to other people. It’s also a good idea to practice these safety measures even if you’re not sick so you can protect yourself from getting infected. These measures will be here to stay for quite some time, especially in air travel. We are still in pandemic times and it’s important to respect these measures whenever you travel.

3. Get vaccinated!

If recommended by your doctor, get vaccinated for whatever you can. Many people have been getting the flu shot for years prior to this global health crisis. It could be a good idea to do so during flu season before you travel to eliminate the risk of confusion between similar symptoms of the flu and COVID-19. Where possible and medically advised, try to get the COVID-19 vaccination as well. Remember, we need 60% of the global population to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. Travel is one of the most efficient ways to spread any virus, so preventative measures like this are a good way to keep everyone safe.

4. Keep your nose and throat clean

You know that feeling you get of an imminent cold? Scratchy throat, stuffy nose, the constant need to clear your throat… Yeah, fun stuff. Well, according to certain otorhinolaryngologists, that can easily be avoided through a simple cleansing routine. Get your hands on a sinus or neti pot rise from your local pharmacy and spray away! Running this through your nasal canal is sure to clear out pesky bacteria! Oral hygiene is also very important, so a good throat gargling product is a must. Changing your toothbrush regularly is also important in keeping annoying colds at bay. If you’re looking for more natural remedies, drinking fresh ginger, elderberry, or echinacea tea is a great home remedy to clear out your nose and throat. 

5. Don’t underestimate the power of sleep

Getting a regular, good night’s sleep is really important in keeping a healthy immune system. Sleep is vital to your overall wellbeing and so it stands to reason that it helps you stay healthy on a business trip. Target getting around 7-8 hours of sleep a night to give your body the chance to go through the full cycle of REM sleep. Getting enough sleep is important for your mental health and your physical wellness, so if you need to sacrifice a night out for a night in—do! A lack of sleep is often the culprit behind things like high-stress levels, headaches, fatigue, itchy eyes, and more. 

6. Enjoy a healthy diet

You know what they say—you are what you eat. So if you’re gorging yourself on burgers and pizza for 3 meals a day, don’t be surprised if you catch regular colds. There are a number of immune system-boosting foods like greens, fish, or almonds that should form a regular part of your diet. Before traveling, fill your meals with foods rich in omega 3, zinc, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C. Don’t forget that hydration, or drinking plenty of water, is a fundamental component of a healthy diet and should be part of your everyday life. It’s not just beauty that starts from within, it’s definitely your health too. 

7. Carry a health kit with you

Since you’re already carrying hand sanitizer and extra face masks, why not pack a proper health kit for your business trip? Get yourself a nice travel pouch and fill it with your prescription medication, paracetamol, vitamins, antihistamines, band-aids, and a thermometer. Just think how much more comfortable you would be when you start feeling a little under the weather and you have everything you need in your carry-on! 

8. Adjust properly to changing timezones

If you’re traveling long-haul, you’ll likely be changing more than one time zone. Jetlag can really disrupt your body’s internal circadian rhythm, which can dramatically affect your immune system. There are many myths that try to solve the mystery of jetlag, from staying awake on your flight to pounding a chardonnay before take-off to taking a sleeping pill. None of these methods actually work, as our partner Timeshifter explains. It’s actually all about how and when you expose yourself to natural light and doing so gradually before your trip is the best way to tackle jetlag before you even get it!

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