Staying well on the road

It seems like this time of year sickness just runs rampant. We have been lucky at our house that we’ve avoided anything major (other than severe12-30-14-1 allergies—thanks a lot cedar!) but it’s probably just a matter of time. Illness seems to multiply exponentially when flying, unfortunately for business travelers. When I start traveling again in a couple of weeks I will be sure to take all the precautions I can to avoid succumbing.

Flu shot. While not perfect protection, getting a flu shot can reduce the risk of catching the flu significantly. Not to mention, if you do catch it then it’s often less severe than otherwise. I know it’s not for everyone, but my doctor recommends it for me especially since I travel so much.

Stay hydrated. Keeping your fluid intake is so important in the winter. All of the dry air just sucks the moisture right out of me! I try to increase my water intake, especially on travel days. It’s also important to keep your nasal passage moist. One easy way to do this is gently breathe in steam from a hot cup of tea. When I’m feeling especially dry I will use a saline nose spray. I know people who swear by Neti pots—every year I say I’m going to try it but I haven’t gotten up the nerve yet. Maybe this will be the year?

Wash, wash, wash. Wash your hands with soap and water and every opportunity. This is especially critical when flying or riding the train. I’m not a huge fan of hand sanitizer but since it’s not always practical to wash up as often I’d like I use it on trips. Also, I’m not trying to sound super paranoid but it’s not a terrible idea to use disinfecting wipes (such as these) on your seatback tray and armrest.

Keep your immune system up. This time of year I make sure to take my vitamins, including a multi-vitamin and extra dose of vitamin C (Emergen-C should do the trick). I also take advantage of all of the fabulous citrus fruit available in the winter, especially Ruby Red Grapefruit (my absolute fave). A friend of mine also likes Airborne although I’ve never tried it. In addition to supplements, eating well and getting plenty of rest help a ton. (Here are some tips for eating well and sleeping well on business trips.)

Wear a mask. If you’re starting to feel run down, protect yourself and those around you by wearing a mask. They’re not super comfortable but will protect from all kinds of airborne illnesses.

While I never recommend traveling while sick with something contagious (like the flu) there are unfortunately some non-contagious things that business travelers just have to power through. There are several medications I keep on hand to deal with these issues. Here is a quick list of what I take with me on every trip in the winter:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Pepto-Bismol
  • Saline nose spray
  • Zyrtec
  • Benadryl
  • Tylenol PM

While none of these things will guarantee that you won’t get sick, a little prevention can go a long way. If you have any questions definitely talk to your doctor. Staying healthy will make your trip more productive, so do whatever you can to stay that way!

Readers, what are your tips for staying healthy during business travel this time of year?


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  1. There is a new and developing expertise related to traveling well and healthy. It begins and ends with enabling your digestive system (often challenged on the road), to do the heavy lifting to protect you (immune-wise), and invigorate you by helping your body to produce all the natural energy it needs and stay mentally focused and engaged.
    Emergenc-C simply put, is inadequate for these tasks.

  2. If I’m traveling to an area with possibly contaminated water, I use Life Straw (Amazon $17.50) which cleans water as you drink through it. It’s not large and protects you. I initially got if for my flooding go kit after a lot of research. I love its convenience.

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