By: Katy Harrison

Coughs and sniffles can put a major damper on plans you’ve looked forward to for months.  If you’re traveling this season, you might be at a higher risk of sickness than those staying close to home.

While research suggests that the partially re-circulated airflow on a plane does not fill the cabin with more germs than most air spaces, it does indicate that the exposure to a confined space is more likely to lead to sickness in people whose immune systems are already weak.  During cold and flu season, many of our immune systems are already compromised, so keep it strong to avoid sickness during your holiday travels.  Don’t let fear of the flu stop you; follow these four simple steps to stay healthy and happy wherever you go.

1. While staying up packing may be tempting, be sure to get plenty of rest before catching your early-morning flight. Getting too little sleep can weaken your immune system, and you want to keep your body as strong as possible before cramming into an airplane’s tight quarters.

2. Give your immune system an extra boost by increasing your daily intake of echinacea and vitamin C in the days leading up to your flight.

3. Cabin air pressure can aggravate sinuses, so consider using a saline nasal spray before take-off to avoid unnecessary irritation.

4. Wash your hands as soon as you get off the plane and again once you’ve unpacked.

Just by taking preventative measures, you’ll decrease the amount of stress you feel about traveling, giving your immune system another extra push. Once you reach your destination, use some of your rejuvenated strength to work in the kitchen, play in the yard, and stay up late with loved ones. Plan ahead to stay healthy and make this flu season one of the best yet.