I recently took a trip with my family, which includes three small children, and we traveled by air. As I sat on the plane listening to the other people sneeze, cough, and sniffle, I took out my notepad and jotted down ways we could fend off the enormous amount of germs that were surrounding us.
The closed cabin on an airplane can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Here are five easy tips to help minimize your chances of catching what the person in the seat next to you (and anywhere else on the plane) is fighting off.
1. Stock up on chemical-free wipes.
Use them to clean the small video screen in front of you, as well as the arm chairs, and tray where you place your food. They also come in handy if you are traveling with small children who like to touch, and eat off of (or) anything in front of them. I love Clean-Well (they use essentials oil to kill 99% of the bacteria and viruses), but you can find great options at any natural products stores, or online. I also use our partner Natracare's Organic Baby Wipes when I'm in a pinch!
2. Bring your own soap.
I know this sounds extreme, but hear me out. With the FDA's announcement back in December 2013 that it's concerned about the safety of two common chemicals found in antibacterial soaps and body washes, namely triclosan and triclocarban, I think it makes perfect sense to bring my own soap. In addition, the antibacterial airplane bathroom soaps always dry my hands out. Personally I prefer to avoid antibacterial soaps all together when I travel and instead use wipes, or two products I recently discovered called Travel Stick (based in the U.S., I contacted the company and they sent me samples, which I loved.), and Soap Stix (this is a Canadian brand that's sold at health food stores). You can use these safer options at any public washroom and when on-the-go. You can always opt for a hand sanitizer, but both Travel Sticks and Soap Stix are great options for when you want to wash your hands with soap to feel clean.
3. Bring your own healthy snacks.
Although some airlines are offering healthier food options, many snacks still contain chemical additives like trans fats and food coloring. My kids always beg me to let them have the pretzels, candy, or cookies they serve on the flight, but 9 out of 10 times they contain Scary Seven ingredients and/or GMOs. I always travel with my own better-for-you snacks for three reasons: one, I always want to have clean ingredient options at my fingertips (I carry dried coconut chips for me), two, I always want to have healthier options at my kids' fingertips (my kids love Surf Sweets gummy bears for when they are craving something sweet or any of Barbara's organic/Non-GMO cereals), and three, I want to ensure we keep our immune systems strong by avoiding chemical additives that we know suppress our immunity, which is especially important when traveling.
4. Choose water over juice and spirits.
Flying can dehydrate you so be sure to drink as much water as possible before, during and after the flight. Water will rehydrate, you whereas wine or champagne can dehydrate you. Juice contains added sugars which suppress our immune systems and make us more susceptible to germs.
5. Essential oils (are essential)
To help avoid catching a cold from the person beside you, carry on a travel size bottle of oil of oregano on the plane with you (our partner North American Herb & Spice has a travel size bottle), and take it a few times during the flight, and after as well. You can also strengthen your immune system prior to leaving by increasing your mineral intake with Juice Plus (a blend of concentrated fruits and vegetables shown to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation).
Image via Kitty Terwolbeck