Traveling during the winter can be extremely hectic with weather delays, overbooked flights and cranky people who are just trying to get somewhere.  As if that isn’t bad enough, it also coincides with cold and flu season which can make those cramped conditions even more unbearable.

There’s no way to guarantee you won’t get sick but there are some steps you can take to prevent yourself from catching something.

Boost Your Immune System

One of the most important things you can do for yourself is get extra rest before your flight, eat a healthy diet, exercise when possible and do what you can to reduce some stress.  This will take any extra strain off of your immune system, allowing it to be stronger in case you come in contact with someone with the sniffles.

Avoid Your Face

Most medical professionals will agree that avoiding contact with the eyes, nose and mouth greatly reduces the risk of infection.  If you absolutely must rub your eyes or scratch your nose, use your sleeve or clean your hands first.

Bring a Hand Sanitizer

Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer can go a long way while traveling, especially if you plan to eat or drink on your flight.  We won’t even go into how germy an airplane bathroom can be but it’s definitely not the cleanest place in the world.  Also, flight attendants have to handle carry-on luggage, barf bags and touch every overhead compartment before take-off.  Keep that in mind when you’re accepting snacks and be ready to wipe down surfaces and clean your hands as needed.

Wear a Mask

It might seem extreme but if you absolutely cannot get sick while traveling, you might want to invest in a medical mask.  It takes a lot of commitment to wear one since people will be curious or even fearful of you but it definitely can be one extra barrier between you and someone else’s virus.

Get Vaccinated

Immunizations are a controversial topic and are not for everyone.  However, for those who are comfortable with vaccinations, getting an annual shot may help ward off the flu virus or pertussis (whooping cough).

Already Sick?

Understand that you will probably encounter more than one menacing stare as you make your way through your travels.  Just like you, the other travelers are trying to avoid getting sick.  Here are some suggestions for helping you keep your germs to yourself:

  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow instead of your hand.
  • Use hand sanitizer every time you cough, sneeze or blow your nose.
  • Minimize symptoms with over-the-counter medications.
  • Stay home, if possible.

With these tips we hope you have a relaxing, sickness-free winter travel experience!