Travelling is one of life’s greatest joys and teachers, but the extra stress it puts on your body can wreak havoc on your immune system. Have you ever noticed that you come down with a bug seemingly every time you depart a plane?
Fortunately, awareness of the issue is half the battle. The other is taking sensible precautions to bolster your natural defenses and prevent illness. What should you do? Here’s how to boost your immune system while travelling.
1. Pay Attention to Your Diet
What you put in your mouth might boost your immune system more than anything else. First, consider taking a supplement. It can protect you against hidden deficiencies that might not tax you under ordinary circumstances but leave you sniffling when you add travel stress.
Ensure the one you choose contains your full day’s recommended amount of vitamin C and zinc. These two nutrients can shorten a cold’s duration — but only if you have both in sufficient amounts when you first encounter a germ. Your immune system is already too weak to use them once sick.
You can also add more fish to your menu. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, eating two or more servings weekly can boost your immune system. It also decreases your heart attack and stroke risk, two of the top killers of people worldwide. This tip could be especially vital if you’re at risk of clots from long plane trips, as the omega-3 makes your blood less sticky.
2. Give Yourself Extra Time
Why does stress impact your immunity? It uses up valuable reserves that would otherwise go toward promoting healthy bodily functions. It’s the equivalent of needing the fire department to put out your burning barn when your town’s tiny volunteer force is already occupied with another blaze.
One of the biggest causes of stress during travel is having insufficient time. If possible, give yourself an extra day on either end of your trip to pack, unpack and ease into your routine. Allow sufficient gaps between layovers to saunter through the airport, stopping at various shops instead of making a mad dash for your connecting flight. The less you rush, the less strain you put on your immune system.
3. Spend Time Outdoors
Even if you travel for business, leave enough time for daily walks in a natural setting. Doing so boosts your immune system while on the road.
Investigators researching the effects of forest bathing found that inhaling the phytoncides trees and plants exude bolsters the human immune response. They saw an increase in a special type of cell known for fighting germs among participants.
4. Practice Good Hygiene
If you have a compromised immune system, wearing a mask can reduce your risk of catching an infectious disease. Do you wear contacts? Opt for your glasses on the plane, as they may prevent some germs from entering through your eyes.
Furthermore, wash your hands as often as possible. Carry hand sanitizer and wipes to cleanse surfaces like your tray table and yourself.
5. Pay Attention to Alerts
Finally, the CDC issues travel advisories for those journeying to high-risk areas. Know the dangers of infectious diseases at your destination and take appropriate precautions.
Boost Your Immune System While Traveling
Traveling is a joy and a learning experience. However, you need not catch a cold from the added stress. Take the above five steps to boost your immune system while traveling and enjoy a healthier journey.