Dr. Erika Schwartz, M.D., is a leading national expert in wellness, disease prevention, and bioidentical hormone therapies. Dr. Schwartz has written four best-selling books, testified before Congress, hosted her own PBS special on bioidentical hormones, and is a frequent guest on network TV shows.

Dr. Erika Schwartz, M.D

Tags: travel | cold | flu | airlines | flying

Don't Let Flying Make You Sick

Friday, 21 Feb 2014 04:18 PM

By Dr. Schwartz

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Do you fear flying during cold and flu season? Here’s what to do to stay healthy while traveling during winter months.
 
Wash your hands every two hours when flying or walking through airports.
 
Don’t touch your face. You’ll cut your risk of getting sick by more than 50 percent.
 
Forget about the 10-second rule. It isn’t true that if food falls on the ground and is there for less than 10 seconds it’s still safe to eat. It carries germs. Don’t touch it.
 
Close the air spouts above your plane seat. Although the recirculated air is filtered, small particles like viruses that cause colds and the flu may get through.
 
Overdress rather than underdress. Keeping warm keeps your core body temperature higher and your immune system working in higher gear.
 
Don’t drink anything but water on a plane. It’s a tall order, but if you drink only water — and lots of it — you cut your chances of getting sick by more than 80 percent. Alcohol, caffeine, and soda are immune suppressors.
 
Don’t eat airplane food. Bring your own. Most food served on planes is old and has gone through too many hands and microwaves to be tasty or healthy.
 
Skip the hot towels offered to you when traveling in business or first class. While they might be initially clean, they are warmed up in the microwave, instantly becoming culture mediums for bacteria and viruses.
 
Keep your hands to yourself. Don’t put them in the seat pockets or on the TV screens, remote controls, seat belts, or anywhere else someone else may have touched. The seat areas are never cleaned well enough in the 10 minutes between flights, and you can easily pick up undesirable germs. I know that sounds almost impossible, but keep reading for tips on doing this.
 
Arm yourself with a sanitizer bottle or wipe. Wipe down those high-risk areas before settling in. You may look a bit overcautious, but you won’t get sick.

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