Can you keep the flu away this holiday season? Yes, here’s how!

Maintaining good health during the holiday season is crucial, especially with the risk of flu and other illnesses.

Here are key strategies to boost immunity and reduce the chances of falling sick during holiday travel [1]:

  1. Prioritize sleep: Ensure you get sufficient rest before and during your travels. Lack of sleep weakens the immune system, making you more susceptible to infections [2].
  2. Stay hydrated: Proper hydration is vital for overall health. Drink plenty of water to keep your body functioning optimally and to support your immune system [3].
  3. Eat a nutrient-rich diet: Consume a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Focus on fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains to provide essential nutrients that support your immune system.
  4. Get regular exercise: Regular physical activity boosts overall health and enhances immune function. Simple exercises like walking or stretching can be beneficial, especially during travel.
  5. Practice hand hygiene: Practice good hand hygiene by washing hands frequently with soap and water. If soap is unavailable, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol to eliminate germs [4]. Per Insider, Dr Caroline Apovian, Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at Boston Medical Center says, “It’s much more essential to wash your hands than take zinc lozenges.”
  6. Avoid touching your face: Minimize touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth. This helps prevent the transfer of germs from your hands to mucous membranes [5].
  7. Get vaccinated: Ensure your vaccinations, including flu shots, are current. Vaccines are a crucial preventive measure against various illnesses, including the flu [6].
  8. Use a mask: Consider wearing a mask, especially in crowded or enclosed spaces [7]. Masks can help reduce the transmission of respiratory droplets, protecting you and those around you.
  9. Boost vitamin D: Adequate vitamin D levels are associated with a more robust immune system. Get some sunlight exposure or consider supplements if needed, especially during winter.
  10. Manage stress: Chronic stress can compromise the immune system. Incorporate stress-management techniques like meditation, deep breathing or yoga into your routine.
  11. Take probiotics: Consume probiotic foods, like yogurt and kefir, or consider a probiotic supplement. These can support a healthy gut, which is closely linked to immune function.
  12. Travel precautions: Be cautious during travel, especially in high-risk areas. Practice social distancing, avoid crowded places and follow any recommended guidelines or restrictions [8].
  13. Stay informed: Keep yourself informed about the health situation at your travel destination. Be aware of any outbreaks or specific health recommendations for that location.
  14. Rest and recover: Allow time for rest and recovery during your holiday. Listen to your body. If you feel unwell, take the necessary steps to recover before engaging in strenuous activities.

By incorporating these habits into your routine, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling ill during the holiday season and enjoy a healthier and more enjoyable travel experience.

[1] https://www.insider.com/ways-to-boost-immunity-avoid-sickness-during-holiday-travel-2023-11
[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757
[3] https://www.culligan.co.uk/why-water-is-essential-for-a-strong-immune-system/
[4] https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html
[5] https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/09/how-touching-your-face-can-spread-viruses-and-why-youre-so-bad-at-avoiding-it/
[6] https://www.who.int/health-topics/vaccines-and-immunization
[7] https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2020/06/417906/still-confused-about-masks-heres-science-behind-how-face-masks-prevent
[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7403533/

The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.