As winter approaches and ski trips, beach getaways and holiday vacations fill the calendar, so, too, does flu season, and it is crucial to arm yourself, especially when you are on a plane or exposed to more people while on the road. “Your immune system takes a real hit when traveling, because of the exposure to so many different germs and time zones, coupled with the overall stress of travel,” says Indagare Insider Corie Tappin, owner of SoulSpace, a specialized wellness center in L.A. that focuses on well-being and healing. And while the influenza virus is ubiquitous—up to 20 percent of Americans will contract the flu each season—it is also very dangerous, and can easily ruin a vacation. In order to protect yourself, it is important to plan ahead to avoid the risks of contracting the virus. We polled our community of experts for their tried-and-true tips on flu prevention on the road.
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1. Plan Ahead
“The most important thing is to be strong and healthy before traveling,” says Corie Tappin of SoulSpace. “The week before you leave, get lots of rest, exercise and take your vitamins—especially Vitamin D and supplements. One of my favorite immune-boosting supplements is Catie’s Vitamin C powder.” (Her other favorite wellness supplies include ganmaolin, a Chinese herbal formula, to ward off germs; a Z-pack; and saline nasal spray.)
Sleep is one of the best ways to boost and recharge your immune system. “Before traveling, people often stress out and stay up late getting things done, tying up loose ends and packing. Burning the midnight oil at both ends and adopting an ‘I’ll sleep when I get there’ mindset makes you more vulnerable to catching a cold along the way,” says Indagare member Dr. Samantha Boardman of Weill Cornell Medical College. An average of eight hours of sleep per night is the optimal number for a healthy adult, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
3. Keep Extra Clean
The age-old advice rings true for many illnesses, and the flu is no exception. Especially when traveling on planes, which carry lots of germs in a contained environment, take extra care to wash hands thoroughly with soap, and use hand sanitizer when necessary. Another must-pack essential: wipes. “Since planes are notoriously dirty, I bring wipes to clean surfaces that my children and I will be touching,” Corie Tappin. Consider carrying antibacterial wipes and disinfecting potentially infected areas, such as airplane seat controls and the tray-table (while you’re at it, sanitize your phone!)
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4. Eat Well and Hydrate
While on the road, travelers should expect (and are encouraged) to indulge in local cuisine. Unfortunately, these meals may be heavier on simple carbohydrates and sodium than on the illness-fighting nutrients found in fruits and veggies. This is why it is important to not only incorporate greens into every meal, but to augment these meals with healthy snacks along the way (an apple or green smoothie can work wonders for your system). If you feel a cold coming on, consider picking up an immunity booster (try one with lemon, ginger and turmeric). Plus, during long days of touring and exploring, it’s easy to forget to drink water, but it is even more important when traveling to ensure your system is well-hydrated—especially if meals include wine and cocktails. During meal times, drink as much water as you can and consider bringing a reusable water bottle while on the go. You may also consider bringing along supplements, vitamins or probiotics to ensure your system stays in the best shape possible when on the road. “I often take digestive enzymes and spirulina while traveling. I love the Hum “Flatter Me” capsules and Athletic Greens Superfood ‘cocktail,‘ which comes is convenient travel packs,” says Indagare’s Membership Director and resident health guru, Elise Bronzo.
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5. Get the flu shot
An annual vaccine is the single best way to avoid the flu and is recommended to anyone over six months of age, according to the CDC. Flu season peaks between December and February, so getting a flu shot in the fall, prior to holiday travel season, is recommended as a preventive measure.
Interested in a health-focused journey? Contact Indagare for customized itineraries and recommendations. For wellness seekers, Indagare is hosting a special Insider Journey next January, which will include transformational workshops, healing treatments, meditation and relaxation at the incredible Mii Amo spa in the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona.