Along with cooking, decorating, and gift giving, packing up and hitting the road to visit friends and family is one of the more common holiday traditions. About 30 percent of Americans plan to travel by car, plane, or train this winter.
Travel during the holidays may involve hazardous winter weather or exposure to cold and flu germs on crowded airplanes. Many people experience stress during holiday trips, and their health may suffer as a result of over-eating and lack of sleep or exercise. To enjoy your holidays and maintain your health, here are our top four winter travel tips:
Keep Emergency Supplies in Your Car
Are you traveling by car in a cold weather area? Then put together an emergency kit for your vehicle. Include items that can increase your comfort and safety should you get stuck on the side of the road. Consider including a blanket, water, flashlight, matches, snow shovel, scraper, and road flares. You may also want to include hand warmers, granola bars, and a whistle (in case you are driving in white-out conditions and other drivers cannot see you.)
Don’t Rely on Vitamins and Minerals
Many people believe that gulping down orange juice or taking large doses of Vitamin C, Zinc, or other vitamins and minerals will prevent them from getting sick. While some vitamins and minerals are proven to boost your immune response or lessen the duration of a cold, these items alone will not always prevent you from contracting germs or getting sick. To prevent sickness, wash your hands thoroughly throughout the day, stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, and eat a nutritious diet. If you have not already, consult with your physician about getting a flu shot.
Eliminate Stress with A Mini-Meditation
Holiday stress from monetary concerns or visits with family can make your system work overtime and prevent your body from fending off illness. Stress can also manifest in physical symptoms like fatigue, upset stomach, muscle aches, or back pains. To reduce stress, take a few minutes each day to be alone. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Address the small worries that are running through your mind. Visualize letting each worry go, as if you are letting go of a helium balloon. This mini-meditation can help you to feel more light-hearted and in the moment.
Carry Hand Sanitizer and Wipes
When you travel, it is difficult to avoid touching dirty surfaces like airplane tray tables and bathroom door handles. People contract germs by touching dirty surfaces and then touching their nose, mouth, or eyes. Carrying disinfectant wipes can help you to clear germs from these surfaces. This is especially important when eating a meal on an airplane or in a busy food court. Wipe down the surface of the table to eliminate germs and wash your hands before eating. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer to kill germs on your hands when you do not have access to a sink. Stop the spread of germs by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow.
We hope that everyone stays safe and healthy on the road and in the skies this holiday season! If you or a member of your family should become ill, remember MeMD is here 24/7/365 to provide on-demand medical care via phone, web or app for dozens of minor health concerns.