4 Easy Steps to Stay Healthy During Holiday Travel

Traveling this time of year should be more about catching your flight than catching a cold or the flu.

A little preparation before you head to the airport will go a long way in helping you keep your defenses up while in transit. Here’s what to do:

Before You Fly

  • Stay Hydrated: Not only is it important to drink plenty of water while you’re flying, but it also helps to be well-hydrated before you even get to the airport. Your sinuses will have an easier time fighting off bacteria and viruses if they are kept moist. Alcohol and dry air in the plane’s cabin also contribute to dehydration, so you may want to consider waiting until you land to have that glass of wine or beer.
  • Protect your belongings: Going through the security line can be a filthy task. Rather than empty your pockets right into the TSA bin, put loose items (such as your wallet, keys and cell phone) into a purse or carry-on bag (or even contain them in a plastic bag). It’s impossible to know what has been placed in the bins before you, but you may want to err on the side of caution. The plastic bins can contain high levels of germs and bacteria.

During Your Flight

  • Disinfect on board: A study from Auburn University showed that bacteria lingers in airline cabins for up to a week, especially on armrests, seat-back pockets and tray tables. Pack antibacterial wipes and use them on the surfaces around your area. It’s also a good idea to avoid blankets and pillows if they’re offered on your flight because you have no idea the last time they were laundered. If you think you’ll be uncomfortable, consider bringing your own neck pillow or a light sweater.

After You Land

  • Wash your hands: It sounds simple but heading straight to the bathroom and lathering up really works. After all, using soap and water is one of the most effective ways to keep germs at bay and can reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses by 21 percent.

If you do get sick while traveling, you have many options to find care, including over the phone and online. Learn more about your choices when it’s not an emergency at bcbsm.com/findcare.

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Photo credit: izusek

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