How To Avoid Getting Sick During Holiday Travel

The holidays are a beautiful time of year filled with laughter, tasty food, and quality family and friend time. Whether you're jetting off to escape the snow or staying local — there's so much excitement around holiday travel. But with all the excitement in the air, who has time to get sick? If you're nodding in unison, the best tips to avoid getting sick during holiday travel are centered around prevention.

For starters, one way to stay healthy when traveling is to (really) wash your hands periodically throughout the day. Get under those fingernails and gently scrub for 20 seconds using soap and water, explains Healthline. In addition, wash your hands after using the restroom, before eating, or performing any activity that involves your mouth and eyes. If soap and water are unavailable the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

The next line of defense for protecting your health is wearing a face mask. The CDC especially recommends wearing a face covering or respirator if you're traveling to communities with medium to high COVID-19 levels.

If possible, try to increase air ventilation while traveling. According to the CDC, improving air ventilation can help clear out gathered particles. This can be achieved by opening a window, turning on a fan, or switching on the air conditioning. But if you're unable to, wipe down all high-touch surfaces with a disinfectant wipe, points out Condé Nast Traveler.

Prioritize your sleep and health

Believe it or not, it's important to get quality sleep before and during your travels. According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, poor sleep and shorter sleep durations increase your susceptibility of developing a cold. The researchers explain that participants who slept 8 hours or more had greater protection against the cold virus than participants who slept less than 7 hours.

Beyond getting quality sleep, it's also important to stay hydrated when traveling. Staying hydrated will help "your body flush out unwanted toxins that can lead to disease if [they linger] too long in your body," points out family medicine physician Dr. Eric Ascher to Condé Nast Traveler. To take it a step further, infuse your water with lemon, lime, or herbs to up the hydration benefits. Then skip the alcohol and drink a cup of green tea instead, since it contains high amounts of antioxidants, explains Healthline.

Keep in mind that it's also important to maintain a well-balanced diet when traveling. Opt for adding green vegetables to your plate whenever possible (i.e. broccoli, kale, spinach), eat the rainbow, and take vitamins like vitamin D to help strengthen your immune system. Vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B6 may also give your immune system a boost, points out Cleveland Clinic. But most importantly, relax, stay home if you're feeling sick, and enjoy your travels!