Everyone knows that airplane cabins are notorious hotbeds of infection, incubating every pathogen that can be transmitted from human to human, from deadly diseases to the common cold. This is particularly true if you are sitting within a transmission zone of a particular bacteria or virus (such as tuberculosis, which can be spread to you by a person sitting only two rows away) or if you come into contact with a nasty microbe, such as MRSA or E.coli 0157 on surfaces. The most common way for you to be infected with a disease is to touch a contaminated surface and then transfer the germ to your eyes, nose or mouth.

Part of the reason you are so vulnerable to getting sick while you are on a plane is that roughly half of the airplane’s cabin air recycled. Even though there are high tech air filters on most planes nowadays, your immune system may not be able to fight the remaining pathogens off if it is not in optimum shape. However, exposure to a germ does not mean you will get ill. It all depends on your immune response. A strong immune system is your defense against any pathogenic bacteria or viruses anywhere. 

If you are a “snowbird” who is planning to take a vacation during the cold Canadian winter then you are likely to find the following tips for supporting your immune system, avoiding infection and staying healthy in general before and during air travel. 

  1. Avoid touching your face. Be aware of how often you touch your face. This is a sure way to transfer germs from a surface to your person.
  2. Wash your hands often with plain soap and water. This helps reduce your chances of contracting a disease.
  3. Take the extra step of sanitizing your hands after washing. Water on airplanes may be contaminated with fecal matter.
  4. Set your overhead vent to low or turn it off. All airplanes have an overhead ventilation system that could possibly shower you with pathogens in the air, especially if you set it to high. You can also position some vents so they do not blow recycled cabin air directly in your face. 
  5. Bring a face mask. If you find yourself seated within a few rows of someone who is coughing or seems sick, wear it.
  6. Stay hydrated before and during your trip. Drink as much water as you can.
  7. Minimize stress levels before you leave. This partly has to do with being organized and getting some time to your self before embarking on a journey. Get to the airport early and avoid any last-minute rushing around.
  8. Get a good night’s sleep the week before you depart. Sleep helps boost your immune system.
  9. Get enough Vitamin D. Spend time in the sun or take a supplement to energize yourself and boost your immune system.
  10. Eat whole foods and stay away from junk food. Sugar, fried fats and junk food can make you feel tired and cause inflammatory responses that can make your body more vulnerable to disease.
  11. Eat your probiotics. Eat fermented vegetables regularly or take a high-quality probiotic supplement.

If you are forced to take a “staycation” rather than a vacation there are ways to rejuvenate your body and reset your mind so that you feel healthier. For more information about nutrition, boosting your immune system, skin rejuvenation, iv vitamin therapy, Toronto weight loss or to book a consultation about anti-aging, naturopathic testing, weight loss programs or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at www.pinewoodhealth.caor call our Toronto Office at (416)-656- 8100. We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at info@pinewoodhealth.ca and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.

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