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.