Traveling can get pretty stressful; add in a carload of kids and you've got yourself a downright insane situation. The only thing that can make it worse is a few runny noses or phlegmy coughs. Whether you're flying cross-country or driving a few hours south, check out these tips on keeping you and your family healthy while traveling.
Stay hydrated. Water seems to be the first step to curing almost everything, and this is no exception. Most planes fly at 30,000 to 35,000 feet, where the humidity is less than the 15 percent required to keep your nasal passages moist. When your nasal passages aren't moist enough, the draining system that flushes out viruses and bacteria can't do its job correctly, resulting in you getting sick. But staying hydrated will ensure that the mucus membranes are moist enough to get rid of those pesky viruses from your fellow travelers.
Use protection. If you don't want to lug a water bottle around all day, nose protection like Neosporin or petroleum jelly will help keep your nasal passages moist as well. Just use a Q-tip to apply it to the inside of your nostrils.
Disinfect. Obviously, disinfect shared surfaces on airplanes like armrests, tray tables and bathroom door handles. Rhinoviruses that cause the common cold can live on surfaces for three hours! Travel size disinfecting wipes will become your new best friend.
Embrace fresh air. Circulation is limited in airplanes, which is a major culprit of the passing along of viruses. Fight for your right to open the overhead vent! Circulating air is filtered, so it cuts down on your chance of inhaling germs.
Keep it simple. When it comes to planning the actual vacation, don't overbook yourself the days right before and after your travel dates. Last-minute packing and unpacking can lead to too much stress, which we know makes your immune system more vulnerable to illness. Of course you'll want to plan the best vacation for your family, but sometimes the best memories come from an unplanned, go-with-the-flow kind of day.
Take immune-boosting herbs and vitamins. It's important to remember your immune-boosting vitamins or herbs like vitamin C and Echinacea. They'll be your backup plan in case all else fails! A new destination means new surroundings and new germs, so it's important to do as much as you can to protect against them.
Wash your hands. This one may seem obvious, but you should really be washing your hands more than what you think is necessary while traveling. For example, hand-washing is most likely a habit for you and your kids pre-dinner and post-bathroom, but that won't cut it while you're traveling. Your skin is your body's first line of defense, and how often do you find your kids (or yourself) touching their face after who knows where their hands have been? You could make a game out of washing your hands, or just squirt some travel-size hand sanitizer gel into your kids' palms every couple of hours.