More people are traveling again on airplanes. With the Delta Variant of Covid-19 continuing to spread across our country, there are common sense things we can do to build our immune systems and lessen our risk when our jobs, mission, or emergencies require that we travel. When considering the coronavirus risk and work or family responsibilities demand flying, these are a dozen precautions we can take:
- Turn on air jets to circulate the air. According to Emory University Biostatistician Vicky Hertzberg, “The air’s actually pretty clean. It gets recirculated through HEPA filters that really are very good at clearing stuff out. So in some aspects, the air on a plane is cleaner than what’s going on in your new office buildings.” Moreover, Dr. Mark Gendreau, chief medical officer at Beverly Hospital in Massachusetts, says that airlines have a high incentive to keep their ventilation systems well-maintained: “If the HEPA filter is not changed regularly, if the system is not maintained well, it puts a lot of drag on the engines, which will increase the fuel consumption, which is quite an expensive proposition.” So turn those air jets to on to circulate and clean your air. The circulating air is cleaner than you think.
- Realize the coronavirus is not airborne. It’s transmitted through droplets of fluid or mucus that you cough or sneeze out, which generally don’t travel farther than six feet. But if those droplets land on a surface that you later touch, you can pick up the virus that way. And move away from people who are coughing.
- Don’t touch anything others touch without sanitizing and wear a protective glove. This means learning to carry sanitation disposable wipes (70 percent alcohol) with you when traveling to wipe down your TV monitor, armrests, seatbelt buckle, etc. just in case a spot was missed by the cleanup crew. Try to use the bathrooms in the airports that have automatic sinks, dispensers, flushes, etc. I also wear a disposable glove on the hand I’m going to touch things with–the check-in screen, the arm rail down the escalator, the handing brace on the airport tram, etc. Then I throw the glove away before I board the plane. It was just for getting through the airport and all the germs I might touch.
- Use the restrooms before you get on your plane. Plan ahead so you don’t have to use the small enclosed bathrooms on the plane. I realize this may not be possible on a long flight. When necessity strikes on the plane, use a paper towel to flush, turn on the sink, and turn the doorknob before exiting. Then dispose of it before you exit.
- Choose the best seat with less exposure. Window seats are best with the most circulation and less exposure according to the CDC. Wearing a mask also lessens exposure, but don’t let it give you a false sense of security. You must do more than just wearing a mask.
- Wear your face mask and don’t complain about it. It keeps the droplets from spreading further away. If wearing a mask that long is difficult for you, find a mask that gives more room around your mouth and nose. I found N95 masks on amazon that I can wear on a plane that don’t make me feel like I’m suffocating.
- Increase hydration before, during, and after the flight. This keeps your immune system working as God intended. When the flight attendants come by, be the pest who asks for more water. Limit caffeinated and alcoholic beverages that only dehydrate.
- Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, clean proteins, and probiotic foods. Increasing these foods and decreasing sugar intake helps to boost your own immune system. A healthy gut increases your chances that your gut lining will take care of invading germs and viruses.
- Get adequate sleep before and after your flight. Don’t let your guard down by missing sleep while traveling. If your long flight causes you to miss a night’s sleep, be proactive and make up for what’s been missed immediately. Your body rebuilds, detoxes and repairs itself when in deep sleep.
- Keep moving with exercise. This increases your B and T cells and overall immune system function. Our lymphatic system functions properly when we move. Its job is to take out the trash in our bodies. Be sure to move before your flight and afterward to keep your body’s trash removal system working. On long flights, walk the aisles to get some movement.
- Boost your immune system with vitamins, essential oils, and supplements. Vitamin D is recommended as the great flu and virus fighter (3000-5000 iu). Vitamin C is advised at 3000 mg per day. And zinc at 30 mg. I use a drop of lemon essential oil and a blend of clove, cinnamon, wild orange, eucalyptus and rosemary in water daily to boost my immune system. In addition, I use bone broth protein in my smoothie daily. Elderberry syrup and blueberries help with anthocyanins that increase the immune system.
- Wash, wash, and keep washing your hands. This is the number one recommendation that cuts the risk of spreading in half. But you must wash your hands for 20 to 30 seconds and fingertips, too. Bring travel-size hand sanitizer with you as you travel. When in doubt, do it again!
The CDC advises us to avoid unnecessary travel and especially for the elderly or those with other health complications. Covid-19 is more contagious than the normal flu, but the Delta Variant is even more contagious. Thankfully, it is less lethal. But when duty calls such as the mission God’s called us to, that child we’ve been matched with in a foreign country, or a work or family celebration or crisis, we go with precautions. We keep our immune system strong with lifestyle changes and common sense.
The yearly flu in the US generally has 32 million cases and 18,000 deaths. And on the worldwide scene, the flu kills up to 646,000 people yearly. So these precautions should be used on a daily basis—not just during this pandemic. Germs, bacteria, cases of flu, and viruses are always a threat. Implementing these dozen precautions can lessen your risk for any contagious disease.
You can also check the following websites for updates:
What precautions are you putting in place for traveling when it’s necessary?
For Your Health,
Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. Brant’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in many TV and media interviews. Unleash Your God-Given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer was released in May 2020 after her journey with cancer and was recently awarded the First Place Golden Scrolls Award for Memoirs, and Second Place in both Selah Awards for Memoirs and Director’s Choice Award for Nonfiction at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference. It was written with commentary from an oncologist and was featured on CBN’s Healthy Living Show, Atlanta Live, and CTN’s Homekeepers. Learn more and cancer and wellness prevention blog and book information at www.ginnybrant.com.