Traveling for holidays is often stressful – we are creatures of habit and most of us are already under a lot of stress. Did you know that physiological stress also includes good changes like a promotion or getting married? Too many changes, good or bad, cause stress. We live busy lives with a lot of pressure, and a lot of changes, I would say. That cumulative stress can lead to catching a dreadful cold on the plane and ruin your trip!! Oh no!
When we travel, especially by plane, we are more susceptible to catching someone’s cold and being miserable during our holiday stay with the family or loved ones.
Here are some tips for airport traveling, the road, and also for the destination – when social functions also mean rich and overabundant meals! I hope these ideas will help you this holiday season! I fly more than I want too, and these help me a lot so I’m glad to be able to share them.
Traveling Tips for the Airport: Security First…
Get a pat-down!
Yes, it can be awkward and some officers are not very sensitive. However, I feel this is much better than getting another dose of EMF every time that you go through check-in. Radiation of any kind is really hard on your thyroid!! If you can avoid it, do it. One of the well studied contributors to cancer is radiation. This is even more relevant if you have to fly frequently.
Request a pat down while putting your belonging through the x-ray. You will wait a few extra minutes for the security person to get you, and it is always the same sex person as you. If you are not sure about this, you can request a private screening too. If you can watch someone else being patted down before you do yours, that may help too.
I always get a pat down unless otherwise I miss the plane. What to expect? You are fully dressed, with your legs and arms spread. The security person will explain ahead of time (required procedure) all that he or she will be doing when touching different parts of your body. You will be asked if you have any sensitive areas beforehand.
The person then, in gloves, pats your whole body: legs, arms, back, front, around the breast. This only takes 2-3 minutes. Then they sample their gloves on an explosive detector while you are standing there. Note: you will need to wait for them to grab your belongings – they will not let you touch them until after the pat-down. They will set them aside for you within your eyesight.
Airport Foods: How to Prevent Travelers’ Diarrhea and Indigestion!
- Liquids: Only drink from sealed cans or water bottle. Avoid open cups that a sever fills with a cold drink and ice for you. Hot coffee or tea is okay.
- Fruits: Only buy those with hard skin, and fruits with skins you will not be eating. For example, bananas or oranges = good; apples = bad. Only purchase those items if they are whole. Avoid cut or sliced fruits or any fresh berries.
- Sushi: Only if all ingredients are cooked; never with raw fish!
- Meat: Never if served raw, under cooked, or at room temperature.
- Eggs: Only eat hard boiled eggs.
- Avoid foods sealed at the airport. One’s directly from the factory are safest.
- Avoid flavored ice/ice pops.
- You may also think salad would be a good bet, but sorry to say… raw salads are about the worst offenders for food poisoning. Unless you eat that salad at an upscale and very clean restaurant, but that is really not even a guarantee. I have a hard time ordering raw salads when eating out after one of my patients almost died from food poisoning in one of the most famous restaurants in town, and seriously damaged his kidneys long term.
So what should you do? Bring your own foods with you! That is the safest bet to keep you from getting sick at the airport. When flying, eating healthy options vs. heavy junk foods are always going to leave you feeling better after a day of traveling.
If you feel you have some food poisoning or indigestion starting here are some things to help you:
- Isotonix digestive enzymes: A sachet contains a double dose that is mixed with 4oz water. You can mix about ½ of the powder with about 2oz water. The proteases in them can help kill pathogens. This is our patients’ all time favorite rescue remedy for indigestion or very heavy foods.
- Nutrametrix Ultimate Aloe Vera powder: I like the natural flavor because the other one is too sweet for me. Try a packet mixed in 4 ounces of water (this aloe does not contain latex and will not have a laxative or irritating effect). It has antimicrobial benefits, especially if you swoosh it around your oral cavity and gargle it back in your sore throat, so expose your oral cavity to it. it is also great for heartburn and if you feel you are getting indigestion.
- Oil of Oregano: This is a strong antimicrobial – kills everything in sight, but it has a very strong flavor. It does not taste good, but it kills on contact. I squirt it in a small cup of warmwater to make it doable. The best formula comes from Physicians’ Strength and is in olive oil. I would say…acquired taste but worth it.
- Probiotics – This one travels well in room temperature.
- I have never gotten ill on the plane or after a trip!
These supplements are great to take during flight time and during your stay.
Tips for the Flight
If you did not opt to have a pat-down, you have already had exposure to radiation. Now consider that your thyroid will be traveling with you at high altitudes where in general radiation is much stronger. This accumulation of radiation may affect your health (all your cells, but thyroid is especially vulnerable).
Stock up on Spirulina
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that has a long list of therapeutic benefits, but in this case, its protection from radiation is what we are after!
“Up to very recently, the interest in Spirulina was mainly in its nutritive value. Currently, however, numerous people are looking into the possible therapeutic effects of Spirulina.
Many pre-clinical studies and a few clinical studies suggest several therapeutic effects ranging from reduction of cholesterol and cancer to enhancing the immune system, increasing intestinal lactobacilli, reducing nephrotoxicity by heavy metals and drugs and radiation protection.”
- Dosing: You have a choice of powder and tablets, and I strongly recommend to get tablets for your trips. I put them in a small snack size ziplog bag and take 8 just before the flight or during each flight. Keep in the fridge when you arrive at your destination.
- What Brand and Where to Get it: The best is Hawaiian Spirulina –You can find them here with a discount.
Bring a Natural Hand Sanitizer!
All you need is a 1 oz bottle – this particular is my favorite as it is small and flat enough to fit even my smallest purse. Also pack some tissues. Why do you need it? Guess where researchers found germs lurking around the airplane…
- Airplane Tray Tables: Experts say you should avoid using the tray table: old food, soiled diapers, tissues are used on them. One study found more fecal matter on the tray table than the toilet flush button! Yuck!
- Air Vents and Seatbelt Buckles: Understandably dirty as many people touch these regularly and the clean-up crew may only give them a quick wipe without disinfectant.
- Seatback Pocket: Passengers use this pocket in front of their seat as a wastebasket ( know I have!), which cleaning crews don’t always clean.
- Aisle Seats: These are handled by people in all the seats adjoining as well as people walking down the aisle returning from the restroom.
- Restroom: Airplane bathrooms are cleaned and disinfected overnight and between long flights, but the water from the sink, which discharges and stops too fast to use without repeated touching and the toilet button are frequent areas of germs and fecal matter.
- Flush before you use: If you need to use the bathroom, flush the toilet first before doing anything else to move any bacteria that can splash back on you….I know, this is not glamorous talk!
- Which cabin is the cleanest? If you do have to use public toilet at the airport or in general, according to research, the very first one is the cleanest and ….the second one is the dirtiest. Human psychology. After i learned about it, I actually started to watch which door others would pick- and sure enough, door #2 was most frequent. Guess which one I always look for. The cleanest part of the public restroom apparently is the inside handle on the door to the bathroom. No surprise here. So people do wash their hands before leaving the bathroom.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
- You are much more susceptible to colds from flights as the humidity is low which affects the mucus membrane.
- Alcohol is not hydrating, by the way!
- Black tea on the plane may also be just a little too astringent.
- You have an option of asking for hot water from a plastic mug or cold water from a plastic bottle. I would opt for your own herbal tea in a tea bag from your purse and even your own smart traveling tea mug (see my prep before the trip)
- Since it is easy to pick up a virus during travel, if you do not have high blood pressure, try licorice root tea, available in health food stores. It is an anti-viral super hero. Bring it with you. Make sure you try it before you fly. You may not like it.
At Your Destination ~ Avoid Constipation!
It is well known that when we travel, we hold it (is there anyone that enjoys public restrooms?). Add that to being dehydrated, and so we get more constipated.
If you have to go, pretend you have a stool or you squat – heels up in the air and your chin close to your knees to come close to the squatting position, so you can open your anal canal and move the bowel. The picture below is an example of what happens sitting vs. squatting. We also have this absolutely beautiful video example:
Other helpful constipation tips:
- Take magnesium with you to move bowels if you are stuck. Before you travel, you should test what dose before sleep will cause a good bowel movement in the morning. It can be 400mg, 800mg or more. You have to find that out. Too much magnesium will give you a loose stool, so record which dose you may need for your traveling needs
- Do not remain constipated- you will be miserable, headachy, grumpy, and you will in fact be re-toxing, reabsorbing toxins from that stool sitting there too long, and the toxins then get into your blood stream that is like a taxi, distributing these toxins everywhere, joints, muscles, brain, organs… Use your magnesium. This website has plenty of great options for magnesium for traveling. If you like powder mixed with water for isotonic delivery, put some powder into a zip log bag.
Now I can sincerely wish you a very pleasant and healthy trip over the holidays and any time you need to travel!
To your health!
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