“Travelers should aim to exercise regularly, sleep well, eat healthfully, reduce stress levels, and have some kind of regular digital detox established at home,” says Dr. Navya Mysore, a primary care physician who counts frequent business travelers among her patients at One Medical, a membership-based medical practice.
These habits will not only boost overall immunity, cultivating them year round will make you more likely to keep them up while on the road.
Once you’re off, Mysore suggests a super simple first defense: drinking enough water. “When you’re well-hydrated, your gut moves better, so there’s less chance of acid build-up and headaches,” she says.
Naturally, planes — and hotels’ potentially dry indoor air — are dehydrating factors. Mysore suggests drinking half-again what you normally do at home: If you normally quaff one to two liters of water a day, add a half-liter to a liter when traveling.
Wash hands “constantly,” advises Dr. Mysore, and wear a face mask on planes and public transit. “Masks are the best defense you can have, and have helped me not get sick” she says. If wearing a mask makes you feel a little weird, just tell seatmates that it’s “for my own health,” which most people can relate to.
Masks can also help keep the nasal passages moist, which helps keep bacteria from sticking around.