First, I should mention I am not a medical professional so this is not me giving any sort of diagnosis, medical advice, or anything medical that could be interpreted as a means to “cure” something.
I have gotten a lot of questions over the past week about immune support and sickness prevention tips when traveling and flying. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that Jason and I had just recently traveled to Amsterdam and back.
I decided it’d be in everyone’s best interest for me to share what we did for our recent trip — the more you know…the more you can stop the germs! Right?!
Okay so the flu, as we all know, this season is rampant. Both my parents got the flu (they got the flu shot) and so many others I know have come down with it (some with the flu shot, some without. I get the flu shot every year due to my suppressed immune system). We were set to fly to Amsterdam January 26th and I was beyond paranoid that I would catch the flu on the plane and be down for the count in Europe. How terrible would that be? Taking vacation and then getting the flu and leaving you stuck in the hotel room the entire time?
I was prepping like a mad woman for this flight. I was far more concerned about what I was taking in my medical pouch on the plane than anything else.
I packed the following in my plane pouch: antibacterial wipes, antibacterial hand sanitizer, saline nose gel, lip mask/hydrating lip balm, face masks (like actual medical face masks not the skincare type lol), and hydrating hand cream.
As soon as we got to the airport, I didn’t touch anything I didn’t have to touch. If I had to hold a handrail or a door handle or the bins at the security checkpoint, I made sure to sanitize my hands immediately after.
As soon as we got on the plane, I whipped out my antibacterial wipes and wiped down EVERYTHING.
You’re going to think I’m crazy but you have no idea how many people who passed our seat and saw me doing it said, “that is a GREAT idea.” And I bet you they wish they had thought ahead.
I wiped down: the seat itself (headrest, armrests, the whole shebang), the seatbelt (both sections and inside and out — you grab the inside of the seatbelt clasp and pull it up to release the seatbelt so make sure you do the inside too), every single button you think you may touch such as the flight attendant button, the light button, the tv screen buttons, the air vent adjustor, literally EVERYTHING. I even wiped down the front seat pocket.
Oh, tray tables. Wipe that down good.
I had Jason do the same. You can’t just have one of you be preventative. It’s a team effort.
After we got settled in our seats and were sanitized thoroughly, I put on my lip mask/lip balm. Then I put the saline nose gel around my nostrils and under my nose. This is to prevent cracking and drying since the air is so dry. If you have cracks in your skin, bacteria can get in this way so the idea is to keep the skin as hydrated as much as possible. Then, since you’re using hand sanitizer so much, it will dry out your hands so you’ll want to keep your hands moisturized too with hand cream!
I was ready to fly. Throughout the entire flight, if I went to the bathroom, I’d wash my hands but then you have to open the bathroom door with your hands so when I got back to my seat, I sanitized my hands. I would use the saline nose gel, hand cream, and lip balm every so often when I felt that I was drying out again. About like every 2-3 hours.
I didn’t use the face masks because surprisingly, everyone that was sitting around us was fine. No one was coughing or sounded disgusting. Had that been the case, I would have offered to give a face mask to them (no shame here) because I read online that it’s more effective if the infected/sick person wore a face mask as opposed to someone who was using it in a preventative manner.
During vacation, I used hand sanitizer every time we went out to eat and every time we got back to the hotel room, I made sure I washed my hands.
This also goes without saying but don’t touch your mouth, eyes, or nose without washing your hands prior.
A week before I travel, I always always take elderberry syrup. You can get it at Whole Foods or on Amazon. This is the one thing I absolutely 1000% swear by. Again, not claiming this works for everyone and it isn’t a “cure” for anything. It is just a supplement that has incredible immune-boosting benefits. Even when I feel a tickle in my throat, I take a teaspoon of elderberry syrup and the next morning, my symptoms are gone.
A week before I travel, I do 1 teaspoon a day. Doesn’t matter what time of day but I take 1 teaspoon a day for preventative and immune-boosting purposes. Elderberries are very high in vitamin A, contain more vitamin C than oranges, are anti-inflammatory, and are very high in quercitin (an antioxidant). It basically gives your immune system that extra kick it needs and traveling is already stressful enough on your body so you want to support it and also help it kick germs to the curb.
One thing I’d like to mention: there are LOTS of “recipes” out there to make your own elderberry syrup. Yes, it’s cheaper and yes, it’s an easy DIY. However, I don’t recommend it only because elderberries can be poisonous if you don’t cook them down properly. I personally would shell out the money to a company that makes them vs. me making my own and not cooking it down properly and basically poisoning myself.
I also regularly take probiotics. Gut health = immune support. There are a multitude of reasons you should be taking probiotics but again, I understand it’s not for everyone but for me, I take it for gut health and immune support. You can do more research on this online for yourself if you’re interested!
Anyway! Hope this post helps you out. It certainly was something that worked for us since we went to Amsterdam and back and we’re healthy and not sick!
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