The holidays are stressful. Halloween through New Years Day is a blur of haste and obligation.
There have been not so healthy meals eaten in the car and the only exercise we’ve had has been speeding to rehearsals, sliding credit cards, Olympic shopping and late night marathon wrapping, just to make sure that we are also sleep deprived because nothing compliments over extended like completely exhausted.
You know what all that is a recipe for? A weak immune system that is just begging for anything and everything your child wants to carry home from the other little snot wipers at school.
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Unfortunately, we learned this hard way after the entire family was stricken down with the flu after putting the flu shot off until we had more time. There’s nothing quite like influenza to stop you in your tracks.
Don’t make my mistake. It’s not worth it. Believe me. I speak from experience. It’s what I imagine the swine flu outbreak of 2009 must have felt like; a near death experience.
Here are a few simple tips to keeping your family healthy while traveling over the winter break:
1. Bring your own healthy foods as travel snacks.
When traveling, it is so easy to eat on the run or in the car, opting for unhealthy fast food options is much more convenient. Once you reach your destination, you will probably be bombarded by sweets and carbs and alcohol.
Too much of a good thing will leave your immune system weak and compromised. Pack travel snacks like fruit, nuts, and bottled water to help avoid this trap. Make sure that you stay hydrated, because water flushes the system and helps to remove poisons from the body
2. Get yourself some shut eye.
Try to get at least 6 hours of sleep while traveling away from home. Obviously, getting good quality slumber in a strange bed while you are hopped up on sugar and nostalgia is hard to do, but try. You will thank yourself when you return home healthy and not with Aunt Bertha’s runny nose.
3. Exercise does the body good.
Getting your heart rate up as part of your normal exercise routine will give you more energy and boost your immune system. How about make it a family affair and take a walk around the neighborhood with your sister and have a long talk, or catch up on the latest family gossip that you’ve missed.
4. Cleanliness is a virtue.
Make sure to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. I know it sounds Howie Mandel germaphobe, but it’s better than the alternative. Do you want to be cautious and healthy or cool and experience the flu first hand? This is one time you most definitely want to be uncool.
Use antibacterial lotion for times when you canâ€™t get to a sink to wash your hands. Airports, train stations and bus depots are especially busy during the holiday season and contact with all those people in confined spaces can expose you to more germs than usual, which can lead to developing a cold or flu.
Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; do this with your elbow and not your hand, to reduce the transmission of germs to your face and other peopleâ€™s airspace.
5. Stop and count to ten.
Holidays are stressful, especially when traveling due to holiday traffic jams and canceled flights due to bad weather. With so much to do in so little time, itâ€™s no wonder people are so stressed out.
High stress levels can cause you to lose sleep and lose your appetite and all of this is counter productive to maintaining a healthy immune system. One more way to relieve some stress? Get your flu shot. I would not have been such a strong advocate had I not already experienced the flu this year. It is awful and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
What’s your trick for staying healthy during traveling?
Photo Source: Ben Chau