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Top 5 Reasons Why Travelers are More Susceptible to Flu

by boiron on December 16th, 2011

Before you head out to visit friends and family both near and far this holiday season, you may want to check out Dr. Chris Gilbert’s top five reasons why travelers are more susceptible to the flu. Dr. Gilbert also has some great tips for staying healthy while traveling, including keeping Oscillococcinum on hand to nip flu-like symptoms in the bud.

Travel can facilitate the spread of the flu virus through shared surfaces and air.

Flu illness levels increase during the winter because people spend more time indoors, sharing more space with others, touching more surfaces and breathing more “shared” air. Traveling amplifies this situation. The high occupant density and the proximity of passengers in cars, buses, stations, airplanes, airports and cruise ships increases the chance of coming into contact with someone with flu. Reduce your chances by avoiding contact with shared items. Don’t put your face directly on airline-supplied pillows or blankets that haven’t been sanitized.

Travel can enhance the spread of the flu virus geographically.

Your out-of-town guests may bring you an unwanted present to be shared later by your family and co-workers. And holiday travel often connects children—who tend to dislike hand-washing—with especially susceptible young cousins and older grandparents. So next time you visit family and friends, swap presents not germs.

Travel tends to cause dehydration.

Airline travel increases susceptibility to illnesses due to the cabin’s dry air, accommodating the growth of viruses that thrive on low humidity. It’s important to keep your mucous membranes moist. When they’re dry, they can’t keep germs at bay. A general rule is to drink at least four to eight ounces of water for every hour in the air. Spritzing your face with water helps keep your skin moist. And travel with Oscillococcinum to treat flu-like symptoms. Oscillo’s sweet-tasting pellets dissolve under the tongue without water, making it ideal for travelers on the go.

Travel may bring about anxiety and stress.

There’s no doubt that travel can be stressful. Research has shown that stress can increase your susceptibility to the flu virus, and can even increase the severity of flu-like symptoms. Try to reduce stress associated with travel. Be flexible, be prepared and build extra time into your schedule for a more relaxing trip.

Travel may disrupt exercise.

Time limitations or lack of equipment on trips can cause faithful exercisers to take vacations from workouts. Even non-exercisers may be affected by prolonged sitting in tight quarters. Make an effort to continue exercising on trips. In a study reported in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, scientists found that exercise may prevent the elderly from getting colds and flu.

About Dr. Gilbert: General practitioner Dr. Chris Gilbert has been using homeopathic medicines for years, both personally and professionally. Dr. Gilbert practices general medicine, homeopathy and acupuncture in the Los Angeles area. Her books, Dr. Chris’s A, B, C’s of Health: When Your Body Screams, Listen to It! and The French Stethoscope, are currently available at

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