Fly Smarter, Arrive Healthier

By flipman / January 15, 2012

Pop some pills. A week before takeoff, boost your immune system.For prevention, I recommend 2-3 grams of Andrographis paniculata a day, plus a daily probiotic, preferably one with 10-20 billion organisms. If you don’t mind a little gurgling and stomach upset, higher-than-usual doses of vitamin C can help fend off more serious infections. Try taking 2 grams of vitamin C, 3-4 times a day.

Take it easy. A few days before your trip, strengthen your system by giving it a break. Go to bed a little earlier, eat more healthfully, lighten up your workout routine and make time to meditate. Try to minimize pre-trip stress so your body is less vulnerable to infection.

Do a little housecleaning. Airlines aren’t terribly concerned about keeping plane interiors clean. Give your seating area the antibacterial once-over using citrus-scented Herban Essentials wipes,

Now ear this. If you’re prone to ear pain when flying, try EarPlane earplugs, (, which help regulate rapid air-pressure changes

Lather up! Always wash hands after using the lavatory, and give them an additional rinse with a moist towelette after you return to your seat. Most plane bathroom sinks dispense cold or lukewarm water that won’t clean your hands thoroughly.

Hold the highballs and skip the ice. Cocktails at 30,000 feet cause dehydration, weakened immunity and hangovers. Plus, the ice cubes dropped into your drink are made from the airplane’s water tanks, which may contain pathogens.

Don’t drink the water. Treat plane water like you would in a third-world country–don’t drink it. Flight attendants may pour from a designer water bottle, but that doesn’t mean it’s the good stuff. Bring your own water or drink canned seltzer.

Say no to the mystery chicken. There’s simply no good reason to eat anything that’s offered to you on a plane. The meals are made from low-cost, poor-quality ingredients, are loaded with salt and are devoid of nutritional value. Bring your own nutritious, organic food, and eat as well in the air as you do on the ground.

Give your nose a drink. Dry plane air can cause nasal passages to dry out and crack, making the nose an easy entry point for germs. Bring a simple saline mist and give each nostril a spritz every hour or two you’re in the air.

DR. FRANK LIPMAN, a pioneer and internationally recognized expert in integrative and functional medicine, is the founder and director of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City.

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