Unless you are lucky enough to own your own private jet (in which case, hi there new bestie!), you will have to travel on a commercial airline at some point. Flying can be fun, but it can also be hard on your immune system; thousands of people with millions of germs fly every day. After years of flying for both work and play, these are my top tips for staying healthy in the air.

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down

Take Airborne or an extra dose of Vitamin C starting a couple of days before your trip. Vitamin C, one of the key ingredients in Airborne, can lessen the severity or duration of colds and other illnesses. I have found these supplements to be extremely helpful in preparing my body for the rigors of travel. I take a multivitamin everyday anyway, but when I’m traveling I also take a Vitamin C tablet or Airborne until the day I come home to bump up my immunity.

Purell is my Homie

Healthcare professionals have said that the viruses that cause colds and the flu can survive for hours on your skin or on objects such as armrests, TV remote control handsets and tray tables. To combat these ickies, I always wipe down these surfaces as well as my hands with some kind of alcohol-based sanitizing wipe. Pay close attention to the tray table, especially if you’re putting your laptop, books or other belongings on it, as it receives the least attention from airplane cleaners yet is one of the most used surfaces by travelers. As a rule, you should sanitize your hands before they go anywhere near your face, especially if you’re about to eat.

Wrap it up

A scarf that doubles as a wrap is essential when you inevitably get stuck near a vent that’s blasting cold air directly from Antarctica.  It’s also a godsend when Señor Germy starts hacking up a lung in the seat next to you. Cover your nose and mouth and try to shift your head as far away as possible.  Also, if the plane is not full, don’t be shy about asking to be reseated. People might get offended in the short run, but you’ll stay healthy and snot-free.

Never admit de-feet

Always have a pair of socks stored in a place that is easily accessible like your purse or computer bag. You will thank me when you see the long lines of funky, barefooted people in the airport security line. I’m all about loving your neighbors, but they can keep their toe fungus to themselves. Ditto when walking on a plane, but you should be keeping your shoes on when walking anywhere in the cabin.  When I see people using the bathroom in socks, I get the dry heaves. So gross.

BYOB – Bring your own (water) bottle

One of the best preventative steps you can take while flying is to stay hydrated, which can help to boost your body’s natural defenses. Water can help your nasal passages to stay moist which will in turn catch germs before they enter your system. Hydration can also combat air travel symptoms such as headaches, dry mouth and fatigue.  

Having your own bottle can help you to control your intake as well since you won’t be dependent on the flight attendants for service or refills. Also, with the prices of airport snacks rising, bringing your own bottle can be cost effective since most airports have water fountains readily available.

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AuthorVindhya Ganhewa