Winter Travel Tips: Boost Immunity and Stay Healthy

Winter travel tips to help you stay healthy and enjoy more fun outdoors.
Enjoy more adventure on the road by staying healthy!
Its that time of year when there seems to be no shortage of sneezes and sniffles.  I'm around so many people each week as I travel for work.  There are days that I want to spray a Lysol fog into a room as I listen to the evidence of sick people around me.  The struggle to stay healthy increases with travel and holiday parties and crowds.  This year, I have been taking some extra precautions and will hopefully benefit from these efforts.  Today, I'm sharing my favorite tips for staying healthy just in time for the holiday season!

No one wants to spend the holidays (or any time) sick.  Taking the right precautions to remain healthy is important - not only for you but for those around you.  Sometimes that quest for better health becomes singular, but our own health does impact those around us.  Being sick can impact small children, those with weakened immune systems or just someone that we may unknowingly introduce new germs to someone that will be impacted. When I think about overall health, I remind myself of the big picture and not just what I may miss out on due to downtime.  What have I changed this season?

Elderberry Supplements and Syrup

I started taking elderberry supplements before our Thanksgiving trip.  In fact, I made everyone in our house start taking an elderberry supplement.  I chose the Zarbee's Elderberry Immune Support for the adults.  For our son, I am giving him a liquid supplement.  He hates gummies, and I was able to find Nature's Way Sambucol supplement for children in a liquid.

I didn't necessarily have a reason for the brands except that the Zarbee's had more elderberry support than some competitors.  I read all of the labels and was concerned with having a higher quantity of elderberry and other vitamins included.  I was not able to find a liquid in stock for our son except for Nature's Way brand.  I know.  Super scientific.  But, my initial start to this was to just get every doing something proactive.

Make your own elderberry syrup at home with a few simple ingredients.
You can make your own elderberry syrup at home for a fraction of the cost of store-bought supplements.

However, this stuff is not cheap!  I know someone a couple of hours away that makes Elderberry Syrup, but that isn't convenient for me. After investigating online, I decided to try my hand at making my own supplement.  You can purchase dried elderberries to make syrup at home for a fraction of the cost of store-bought supplements.  There are lots of recipes out there to accomplish this task.  I decided to use a recipe from Wellness Mama.  I trust her recipes and thoroughly researched information.  It is a simple mixture of water, dried elderberries, honey, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon.  And, you could even eat this on pancakes if you like!  Full disclosure.  This does have the ability to keep you regular.  So, keep that in mind as you take it.

Saline Sprays

I'm a big believer in saline sprays.  We have used these at home with our son for years.  If he starts to get sick, it is one of the first things that we do.  It is a lot easier than a netti pot, and it works well to flush irritants and help with the sniffles.

I personally like the Arm and Hammer Brand.  They make a general adult use formula.  Arm and Hammer also make baby formula.  There is even a nighttime formula with eucalyptus.  I think these are all products worth keeping on hand.  It just keeps the nasal passages clear, and saline works well to kill germs too.

Saline spray is easier to use than a netti pot and will help with nasal drip.
Saline spray can really help with nasal drip.

General Precautions

This year, I feel like I have revisited all of the basic things that we all know that we should do.  We are at that stage at home with our son where we are encouraging more independence.  This also means that I'm teaching him to do things correctly like - how to really wash your hands.  I have been stressing the importance of really soaping up your hands and thoroughly getting your hands clean as we wash them.  A good wash in anti-bacterial soap is so important in overall health.  The foaming soaps are the ones that I keep at home because they tend to be easier for little hands.

Winter tip #1 is keeping your hands clean to stay healthy!
Wash your hands often and thoroughly to remain healthy.

I really hate hand sanitizers.  The texture alone sends me over the edge.  But, it is also a way to keep your hands clean on the go.  There are foaming hand sanitizers that I like best.  As much as I hate to say it, I do think to have a hand sanitizer at home and on the go can be helpful.  I don't use these products religiously.  But, if I am blowing my nose and am not near a restroom to wash my hands, hand sanitizer is the next best thing.  It's good for using if you are coughing a lot too and just want to apply a bit to your hands until you can get to a place to wash your hands.  I also use it at work if I am shaking hands with people a lot.  There is no possible way that I could wash my hands that much, and I still wash them a lot.

Blowing your nose is something underrated.  It is a good way to help with your cold symptoms if you have them.  Because of this, I stay stocked on wipes and tissues.  I like to use wipes to use both in our car and in other places where we need to wipe something down.  Some grocery stores and other places with carts have wipes for the handles.  Use them!

Finally, if you just want to go full-on protection, get a mask!  No.  I'm not joking.  If you are going to be flying on a plane, have a compromised immune system or are at a doctor's office, wear a mask.  I saw someone I know on Facebook wearing one of these on a plane.  I'm saying yes to this mask.  You probably should too if you are doing a lot of traveling.  These pretty ones make it less terrible maybe.  Either way, I would rather wear a mask than have the flu!

Protect yourself from germs with a mask when traveling in confined spaces.
A mask may seem overboard, but it can be a helpful defense against germs.

Okay.  I sound like a total germaphobe after this whole post.  I'm okay with that.  We had a 25-week preemie, and I spent years having a real fear of the flu, going back to the hospital or even the dreaded ventilator if he got really sick.  Much of this is deep-rooted in all of that.  I feel like I was less fearful of germs when I was a public school teacher.  Funny how that works.

So I know all about building up resistance and letting your immune system do its thing.  I have had the flu vaccine.  But, I also think it is just common sense to take whatever precautions necessary to stay well.  As you travel during the coming months, arm yourself with the right tools to keep yourself healthy well so you can continue to enjoy life's adventures!  You can thank me later.  And while you are at it, give some elderberry syrup a try.  It's not so bad.

Until next time...

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