A Dermatologist’s Insights to Avoid Illness While Flying
You already know that air travel is stressful beyond most of your other activities. In winter, it is also a setup for cold and flu germs.
I’ve personally learned the hard way over the years. From travel, I’ve gotten pink eye, numerous colds and flus, nose bleeds from dryness and skin peels for a week after long-haul flights due to dehumidified air. Plus, airplane and airport food flare-up my arthritis and inflammation now that I am older.
I even ruptured a disc in turbulence over Iceland on the way to Europe for a family vacation!
Tips for Healthy Air Travel
With this experience, I have developed preventative steps to save myself these consequences of air travel. They are working well – fingers always crossed though. Here is one post I wrote on skin care for air travel.
And here are some additional insights:
- I wear surgical grade support hose (Futuro) to prevent varicose veins and spider veins and/or blood clots on long haul or cross-country flights.
- I walk and/or elevate my legs while in the airport by using my rollaboard as a footrest and putting my legs up on it when sitting and waiting to board.
- For the same reason I wear flat shoes which help move blood in the venous system of the legs while walking.
- I carry sanitizing wipes and TSA-size hand sanitizer (I prefer one scented with lavender for the aromatherapy de-stressor such as EO brand).
- Before leaving for the airport, I shower and apply my All Natural Butter to my entire skin surface to protect dryness-prone hands, arms and legs.
For my face, I hydrate my skin deeply before flight with this routine:
- Cleanse: Extremely Gentle Foaming Cleanser followed by Naturally Hydrating Pore Minimizing Toner
- Correct: Instantly Luminous Serum (packed with hyaluronic acid to hold water) followed by Green Tea Antioxidant Therapy (to fight free radical damage)
- Hydrate: All Natural Butter or Lotion Protect: Suntegrity 5 in 1
In my carry-on luggage, I always have a rich hypoallergenic lip balm to prevent lip chapping. Plus, I can also apply it with a Q-tip to the interior of my nasal passages because they always dry and crack from airplane air.
Avoiding Illness on Airplanes
Flying provides a setup for infection. On long hauls, here are some additional things I do to help prevent illness:
- I wet my face with bottled water given out in-flight (not lavatory water) and reapply my lotion or butter used above over (put in TSA-size containers) more Green Tea Therapy.
- If arriving in daylight, I apply sunscreen before landing. And I carry a bucket hat that can be rolled into my carry-on.
- I pack my own healthy snacks and try to avoid airplane food. Airports are offering healthier choices, but I still bring my own food. I use points to fly in First Class, but I still don’t eat the food because I always feel poorly for a few days after travel when I do.
- I bring hard cheese, whole grain crackers (gluten-free for me), nuts, carrot sticks, dried fruit, a bean dish, and fresh fruit. I eat it before landing if I am entering a country that will not allow produce.
- I have calming music on my iPad, and I plug in both in the airport and on the plane to ease the stress that is ever present when a group of people are traveling and especially in a noisy airport and on airplanes.
- I either watch movies, read or write – basically focusing my attention on something other than the travel scene.
- Once I arrive at my destination I try to sleep, rest and focus on acclimatizing to the new time zone with an excess of sleep – instead of jumping right into activities and staying up and pushing through fatigue to meet a new clock.
It can be very easy to get sick when traveling and flying on an airplane. However, you can take steps to avoid illness. Test some of these tips above, and let me know what you think.
Also, if you try some of the products mentioned above during your travels, please send us a note and let us know how they helped you. We’d love to hear from you!