Traveling should be a time of pleasure and relaxation!
Most of us wait in excited anticipation for the day we finally leave for a special trip.
Yet, as amazing as travel can be, there are inconveniences to life on the road. Seasoned travelers learn to travel smart to get the most out of their experiences with the least headache.
However, one thing even they may forget about is the stress that travel puts on our immune system. Long travel days, sitting for many hours, interrupted sleep, and an abundance of “convenience foods” can take a toll on normal immune response.
More than that, increased exposure to germs in crowded spaces can mean even the healthiest of people may get sick. Here are my tips to encourage strong immune defenses when traveling.
The proof is in from numerous studies. Washing your hands with soap and water can cut your risk for colds and flu anywhere from 15 to 50%.When traveling, remember that every surface you touch has probably been touched by hundreds of other people before you.
Take care to wash your hands with soap often, especially after using the restroom and before handling food. This is your first line of protection against colds and flu on the road.
You’re more at risk for dehydration when you travel, especially if by plane. The pressurized air inside a plane cabin has a humidity level of 10- 20%- much lower than your typical indoor environment of 30- 65%.
Low humidity increases risk of dehydration and dries up your air passages, allowing more germs to enter and stay in your body.
When traveling, drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated and flush out pathogens you may be exposed to. Especially avoid dehydrating drinks like soda, coffee, and alcohol.
Regular exercise keeps system oxygen high and circulation sound. Studies find regular exercise can cut your risk of upper respiratory infection by 23%!
Exercise helps flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways, reducing your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.
Some research even suggests colds are less severe in people who are the most physically fit. Take a walk, light jog, or do yoga or aerobics every day possible on your trip.
Traveling is hard on digestion. A poorly functioning digestive system allows unabsorbed proteins to pass into the bloodstream.
These proteins are then perceived as immune offenders, pulling immune defense systems away from other areas of vital work. I find a largely vegetarian diet is best at this time.
Watch your sugar intake, too. Refined sugar is an immune system depressant. A study by Loma Linda University finds ingesting 100 grams of sugar (in 1 liter of soda) depresses the ability of white blood cells to kill germs for up to 5 hours after consumption.
Spirulina, Barley grass, and Chlorella are packed with nutrition, recharge your energy, and support normal immune health.
Just add 1-2 tsp. of the green superfood of choice to your morning juice or smoothie. Chlorophyll in green superfoods supplies a natural “mini- transfusion” to help cleanse your bloodstream.
Herbs like Garlic, Astragalus, Turmeric, and Reishi mushroom are my “go to” choice for natural immune support if you’re feeling run down before your trip.
Try Immune Daily Tonic to support and strengthen the immune system so you are more resilient to attacks on the road.
Specific essential oils have powerful antimicrobial activity and help to cleanse your breathing passages.
Just dab a diluted drop on the space between your nose and lips for natural sinus clearing activity. A xylitol nasal wash can also help clear bacteria from your sinuses.
Don’t let a cold or flu ruin your trip. If your itinerary is packed, you’re going to need plenty of energy and a strong immune system.
To help with travel stress, consider Serenity Now Spray, great for relieving high stress moments and tension before plane rides.
Plan ahead to keep your immune system healthy while you travel.
Chan, A. (2010, Nov.). Exercise makes the common cold less common. Retrieved from Live Science, http://www.livescience.com/8897-exercise-common-cold-common.html
Frequent hand washing prevents spreading colds and flu (2008, Nov.). Retrieved from The Standard, https://waukonstandard.com/content/frequent-hand-washing-prevents-speading-colds-and-flu
How washing your hands does ward off colds (2015, Aug.). Retrieved from Daily Mail,
Murray, M. (2010, Dec.). Low immune function. Retrieved from Doctor Murray,
Vroomen-Durning, M. (2009, Feb.). Preventing dehydration from air travel. Retrieved from Every Day Health,