When you're en route to a vacation, a business meeting, or going home to see your family, the last thing you want to do is fall ill... either on the plane or in the days following your trip.
Unfortunately, airports are always busy, and the chances of bacteria spreading within the airport and that compact airplane cabin are extremely high.
What are 10 ways you can avoid getting sick on an airplane?
- Wipe down your seat before you sit down.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Place a towel on your seat.
- Point the air conditioning toward your face to keep bacteria out of your breathing space.
- Bring health snacks (nuts, seeds, protein bars, fruit, veggies).
- Get up and walk around.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Consider taking supplements before you fly.
- Use a napkin or tissue while opening overhead compartments.
- Wear a mask.
Tune in as the paleo cardiologist, Jack Wolfson, DO, shares 10 tips on how you can avoid getting sick on an airplane.
RadioMD Presents:The Dr. Holly Lucille Show | Original Air Date: April 29, 2015
Host: Holly Lucille, ND, RN
It's time to separate fact from fiction and health in health ads. It's time for the Dr. Holly Lucille Show. Here's Dr. Holly.
DR HOLLY: Hi, folks. Thanks so much for being here. I have got a lovely guest with me. This is Dr. Jack Wilson.
Jack I'm just going to bring you on. How are you?
DR JACK: I'm doing fantastic, Dr. Holly. It's an absolute pleasure to talk to you. I have never met you in person and I've heard so many amazing things. I heard your broadcast before and I really, really appreciate the work that you're doing.
DR HOLLY: Well, right back at you. You are a bird, board certified--not bird, but board--certified cardiologist who uses nutrition and supplements to prevent and treat disease. Well, welcome to our show because I think that is just amazing. And this is another thing. I want to talk about this real quickly. You have a book called The Paleo Cardiologist. Although, as I promised to listeners, we're going to talk about some ways to avoid getting sick while travelling on a plane because you write prolifically and this is a blog of yours and I really wanted to pick your brain about this, being somebody who kind of flies around a lot, but tell me a little bit about The Paleo Cardiologist.
DR JACK: Well, I think The Paleo Cardiologist is a whole idea of paleo nutrition that also ties in hand in hand with travel as in healthful travelling. I came up with the idea of The Paleo Cardiologist as my first book a few years ago and it's all about how using paleo nutrition, that paleo lifestyle. Returning to the wisdom of our ancestors who really make us achieve the best of heart health we can. If we have heart disease, this paleo lifestyle can help to reverse it and fix it. That's what I'm all about. Once again, you maintain that type of nutrition which, of course, is eating tons of vegetables, eating free-range grass-fed meat and nuts and seeds and eggs and avocadoes and coconuts--the foods of our ancestors. We can maintain heart health and also avoid getting sick on a plane, for example.
DR HOLLY: Alright, so let's talk about getting sick on a plane because I promise you and I promise the listeners, I'm going to have you back because I want to have my own television show. I had Dr. Esselstyn on. So, of course, his research in the China study with cardiology is--the message is somewhat opposite. Not opposite, but there are some contrasting things. So, I want to get into that and talk about that to you but at a later time. So, as promised and talk to me. Like I just got back from not only Cambodia but then I had to fly, because my mom was really sick, over to Michigan. I'm flying all the time. Help me. Help my listeners. What can we do?
DR JACK: Well, as you know, the most important thing to maintain your health is to be a strong host. There are all different pathogens and viruses and bacteria that are floating around the world and when you are travelling and when you are on airplanes, there are international travellers. We're not going to be able to sort of protect ourselves as much within.
We can't put up a shield against these people. We are exposed to it and that's why we have immune systems. If you have a strong immune system then you're going to be able to combat all these different viruses and bacteria and you're going to get sick. If you do get sick, it will be a very short course of illness. And, you know, certain things by maintaining a low sugar diet. Low sugar has been proven, for example, to diminish the transmission or the response to the polio virus.
DR HOLLY: Nice.
DR JACK: And, the common cold. Everything is fed by sugar and a high sugar diet. So, that's the most important thing we can do and that's where it really ties in with the paleo philosophy. Other things tell people, certainly, while they're travelling is to make sure they wash their hands. Wash their hands before they eat. Wash their hands after they go to the restroom. We always recommend bringing some kind of moist toilette with you to wipe your hands on every opportunity, even wiping down your arm and wrists. Even part with the used tissue, like, to make sure that you're not getting exposed to somebody's pathogens or viruses or bacteria. It might seem like overkill, but it does make sense to do that as supposed to suffering for an illness for a few days.
DR HOLLY: Sure. I mean, absolutely prevention is the cure and I have to tell you, I was flying next to somebody and she kind of had it down. I mean, she got in her seat, she got her wipes out, and you mention the wipes from Seventh Generations. Of course, a lot of those have toxic things that we actually don't want to take on to our skin because it might be contributing to some of the those toxins we get exposure to, but wipes from Seventh Generation you mention you blogs.
Oh, I love that. They're travel wipes. But she had it down. She wiped down everything and she asked me if I needed one and actually, it kind of caught me off guard and I said "no", but I thought, "Hey," as you say, "it might be over kill," but guess what? Prevention is the cure and you're right. I would so much rather, do some quick easy measures like this to protect myself and I'm fine than suffer, which I have. Not being such a strong host and actually having a virus or two.
DR JACK: Right, Right. And, yes, sometimes you, obviously, see people when they travel. They're wearing a mask--surgical mask--that helps prevent some transmission of viral particles in the air. You're just in a big tube, that's what it is. And, you know, if you're sitting near someone who appears to be ill, it may not be the worst thing in the world to break out a mask to, like you said, and prevent some of the virus from getting through. So, even some thoughts that if you put the air conditioning, if you put the little nozzle and you kind of spin that towards you, it helps to blow away air from the rest of the plane and provide you with fresh air that has been filtered. That's kind of another trick of the trade to do while travelling.
DR HOLLY: Wow, and I think this is really important: drinking plenty of water. How can somebody measure, especially when flying and just sitting there, what plenty of water really means?
DR JACK: Well, I think maybe we could just hold off and we actually get up and go to the bathroom. So, you should be getting up and urinating on a flight, at least every hour. Maybe every ninety minutes at the most, but preferably every hour. Then, it'll tell you that you're hydrated enough. Whenever I travel, and I know you're a big proponent of avoiding plastic, and I certainly feel the same way of avoiding plastic whenever we can. You can't do it when you travel. When I go to the airport and I wherever I'm going, I stock up three big bottles, preferably something like Fiji or Evian or high quality water with a fixed quality of plastic that is known to be BPA free and I just make sure that I'm snipping that throughout the flight.
DR HOLLY: You know, Dr. Wilson, I have to tell you, I took a flight. It was from Atlanta to Korea and it was fifteen hours long and I have to tell you, I noticed. Of course, I wanted to get up and do a lot of things after flying for more than 10 hours, but I wanted to get up and go, you need to pee! Why aren't you people peeing? This is crazy. You know. I always bird-dog the aisle seat because I know staying hydrated is extremely important and I can't believe these people didn't get up and move once and go to the bathroom. Couldn't believe it!
DR JACK: As a cardiologist over the years I've seen people hospitalized for blood clots in their legs or deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism (the blood clotting in the lungs) because it occurred after travelling. And most people think the opposite of what we're talking about. They do not drink a lot of fluids while travelling because they don't want to have to get up to urinate. They don't want to climb over somebody else and it's really counter intuitive. We've got to really change that. Just the fact you're getting up to urinate, yes, it shows that you're hydrated, but then, you're also, you're moving the muscles you're moving the blood flow. The calf pump propels blood from the calves around the body prevents it from clotting in the legs. So, that's another very important aspect to travel.
DR HOLLY: I'm so happy that you're getting that word out. Those folks that are on the aisle in the middle, please let that person from the window, if he need to get up two, three or four times, get up. We can all get use getting up, that's for sure. My grandmother actually used to tell me, it was her goal not to go to the bathroom. It was like a thing that she did to try to sort of kind of, you know, be in contest with herself. And I'm thinking that's one of the stupidest things that I have ever heard. So, I think that's great.
DR JACK: Right, Right. And grandmothers are usually so wise, too. It surprises me to hear the contrary to that. Well, I think there are also, you know, some of the good supplements that people want to take also to keep their immune system strong. I like boosting up with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, colloidal silver, and a couple of other products that I like that helps to boost the immune system. There's one product called WholeMune by Ortho Molecular, and I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but, in any case, whatever. It's what I use. It's a fantastic product that is Baker's yeast extract containing 75% beta glucan and there's some good science about that and immune boosting activity.
So, speak with you natural doctor out there before you travel make sure you get the best products available.
DR HOLLY: Well, that is great. Now your website is thedrswolfson.com correct?
DR JACK: Correct, doctors abbreviate like you said. Yes.
DR HOLLY: OK the thedrswolfson.com and you and your ecofriendly office is located in Paradise Valley, Arizona.
DR JACK: Yes, it is.
DR HOLLY: And, alright we've got you're first book, The Paleo Cardiologist. We're going to hear more from Dr. Jack Wolfson. And for folks, you out there listening, thanks so much for being with me. I am Dr. Holly Lucille. This is Mindful Medicine. You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook at YourRadioMD.
Okay, folks. Take care of yourselves and each other. And always remember to be well.