There are all kinds of viruses and bacterias out there, especially at airports and on airplanes. My first year at the major airlines, several times I observed other pilots wiping down the cockpit with antibacterial wipes. And I mean they wiped everything! Each switch, every button, and all levers, were cleaned in detail. I was reminded of Oscar and Felix while thinking they were crazy! This remained true right up until the part where I was sick with colds and flues four times that year! (This is not a good thing especially when you are a new pilot on probation!). So, I started doing the same thing.
Yes, there is definitely a solid argument against doing this in order to build up your antibodies and immune system in order to fight these bad guys. But, if you need to be sharp on your business trip or available to function on your family vacation, I would recommend doing the following things to help prevent getting sick.
1. Take at least 1,000mg of Vitamin C every day.
2. A few days before your trip, start taking “Airborne” or “Zicam” products. These have many vitamins and minerals such as Vit C, Zinc, etc. which helps strengthen your immune system. Check with your pharmacy to make sure these do not interfere with any current medications you may be taking.
3. Get plenty of good sleep before and during your trip (do the best you can!).
4. Stay very hydrated! Drink lots (at least 6-8, 8oz glasses) of good quality water before and during your trip. The more dehydrated you are, the more run down your body will be leaving it more susceptible to catching these bugs.
5. Wear gloves. Now that it is fall and winter, they are in fashion so wear them. You touch elevators, escalators, ticket counters, security bins and machines, food courts, gate seats, gate counters, hand rails, arm rests, tray tables, bathrooms, and lavatories while a thousand other people have done the same.
6. Bring antibacterial wipes. Wipe down the aircraft arm rests, tray tables, lavatory area you touch, etc. People may look at you strangely, just like I would have in the past, but they will remember you the next time they are sick from traveling!
7. Do not touch your orifices. ANY openings in your body are the “sick super highway”. Wait until you have scrubbed your hands and fingers for at least a minute with sanitizing soap, then feel free. (I will not list the many orifices but some of you like to touch those more than others – just ask the flight attendants!). Rubbing an eye counts too, so bring eye moisturizing drops so you don’t touch or rub them.
8. Please, please, please sneeze or cough into a tissue, hanky, or elbow. Flying bodily fluids is not only dangerous, but it is gross too. Spread the love, not the germs!
9. Try to load up on the veggies and take supplements to get your antioxidant levels up. You need the nutrients and it will help boost your immune system.
10. Wear a mask if you need to. Openings other than your nose and mouth are still exposed but it will help prevent the transference of germs going both ways.
11. Be at ease. Anxiety, fear and stress only wears down your immune system and keeps you from being comfortable.
I hope this helps keep you stay healthy throughout your travels! There is more information about travel health in both my books “Remove Before Flight” and “Lost and Found”. I wish you great wellness!