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How to NOT get a COLD especially if you travel

Did you know that getting on an airplane increases your risk of a cold OVER 100x? 

Here's the scoop:

  • The 2004 Study published in the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health sought to determine if recirculated cabin air is the cold culprit. It is NOT.
  • Instead, the higher incidence of colds is most likely because the human defense against the cold virus--mucus--is weakened by the VERY DRY air on airplanes.  The low humidity on aircraft (5 to 10%) means that the body's MCS
    (Mucociliary Clearance System--mucus system) can't do its job.
  • Travel fatigue adds to the problem by further weakening the immune system.
  • The result is a high level of cold virus transmission

So why don't airlines simply increase the humidity?  Because higher humidity compromises aircraft equipment, and it raises maintenance costs.  It is still a possibility though. Various companies are working on it.

What you can do: 

  • Drink up.  And we don't mean booze.  Hydration really can help the mucus flow and that will keep the germs out. Hot beverages work best.
  • Spritz your schnoz. Nasal mists can help keep things loose and moist.

Other Ways to Protect Against Getting a Cold (whether you're traveling or staying put)

  • The no-brainer of washing hands. Duh. Remember that flu viruses can survive on surfaces for over 2 hours.
  • Vitamin D supplements.  Studies show that Vitamin D improves immune function. Forget echinacea and overloading on Vitamin C.  D is proven.  But don't over-do it. Too much D can be toxic. Do not exceed 2000 IU.  1000 IU is a good level for supplementation.
  • Wear a face mask. Yes, it's a bit over the tip but it does help.  
  • Soup!  Instead of chicken noodle, we love "Olga's Vegetable Soup" -- which makes use of winter's vegetable bounty.  Click here for the recipe. It's good.

Colds are no fun.  A little effort may keep you in the clear. 

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