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grace44 Jul 20th, 2019 04:31 AM

Getting sick while traveling? Tips, recommendations
The last, at least, four trips I have picked up a horrendous cold. Usually coming home, probably on the plane. The last two trips, Egypt and Ireland, I came down with the cold on the way over, seriously affecting the trip. In December we will be heading for Tanzania. We will have to get malaria medication for this one. I am wondering if that may protect me from colds also. Does anyone else have this problem? Have you found anything besides handwashing that helps. I have seen a lot of people that wear masks. Any experience with that? Some of my friends have mentioned taking high doses of Vitamin C before going. Just wonder if any one has any tips or recommendations. I sure would like to solve this problem, without having to just stop traveling.

starrs Jul 20th, 2019 04:37 AM

I have friends who wipe down everything around them on the plane with disinfectant wipes. I do not, but given your luck I probably would. I would also consider taking a mask. Not kidding.

We were flying to Jackson Hole and on the long flight a man sitting between us coughed and sneezed all the way, for hours. We had to run for the connection in SLC but as we boarded I asked the flight attendant for ANYTHING she had. She gave us each three tiny packages of wipes. I used all three. My friend seemed a bit embarrassed and only used one. Two days later, she was sick. So sick, she had to go to the medical clinic.

I was so mad at that guy. I am sorry he was sick, but he should not have been on the plane.

HappyTrvlr Jul 20th, 2019 04:54 AM

We take Airborne before long flights and recommend that you do this too.
One time we got worst colds in far western China, near the “ Stans.” A fellow traveler gave us Alka Seltzer Cold Tablets that fizz when you add them to water. They have worked well every time to stop the cold and we always bring them along.

hetismij2 Jul 20th, 2019 05:05 AM

Malaria tablets won't help with avoiding a cold. Do follow the instructions to the letter with them, and don't forget your Hep A and tetanus jabs too. A doctor will advise you what you need, make sure you get them in plenty of time.
If your cold develops a few days after your flight then you got it on the flight, if earlier the chances are you already had it before you travelled.
Just make sure you are as healthy as you can be before you go. Keep hydrated, keep washing those hands.
Safaris mean early starts but often relaxing afternoons, so take advantage of that to relax whether or not you feel a cold coming on.
Enjoy it - lucky you going. Be prepared to lose your heart to the place. I'd love to go back,.

kybourbon Jul 20th, 2019 05:16 AM

If you came down with colds twice on planes you were exposed to those bugs before you flew. Stay away from people a couple of days before you travel.

I don't think there is any research showing vitamin C really does anything for colds. Those teachers that sold Airborne vit C made all kinds of claims about it preventing colds. They were sued and had to pay out millions of dollars and remove those claims.

You could take some wipes on the plane and wipe down the screen, tray and armrest. That might help a tiny bit, but if someone is sick on the plane, those germs are flying around in an enclosed space. It might be more important to wipe down the head rest (if it's not fabric) so your face isn't contacting any germs.

It would take a lot for me to leave a trip early. Traveling alone in Italy about ten years ago, I was injured two days into a sixteen day trip (damaged tendons in elbow and cracked rib) . I did have to go to the hospital (no charges!) there and although in pain, I wasn't about to abandon my trip. I always carry pro wrap and used that on my elbow to support it. In the last few days of the trip, my cracked rib popped all of a sudden and finished breaking. That was painful, but I just had a few days left so managed. I went to my doc the day after I got home and he said the rib would take about a month to heal and elbow about six.

muskoka Jul 20th, 2019 05:26 AM

What has worked best for me is to use saline nasal spray before & during a flight - twice on a 6-hr flight. Since doing that, i have not picked up a cold from fellow sneezers & coughers. My son travels a great deal & after following my lead, has not had a cold contracted from flying.

starrs Jul 20th, 2019 05:39 AM

I fly weekly and haven't caught a cold in years. A coworker wipes everything down around her on the plane and every surface in her hotel room. She carries wipes.

I just try to wash my hands often and pay attention and make sure I don't touch my face, nose, eyes between hand washings. I don't think most of us realize how often we touch our faces/ noses. I don't eat ANYTHING without washing my hands first, and if I break my rule and do eat, I don't eat the last bite of food that I was holding. I read a story years ago about a man who worked in an auto plant who never ate his last bite of sandwich - even after retiring. Old habits die hard. I keep wipes in the car but don't carry Purell or similar. Watch it now - I'll probably get sick on the plane next week. ;)

Pepper_von_snoot Jul 20th, 2019 06:05 AM

Maybe you are a hypochondriac?

Do you see a psychiatrist? In therapy?

Are you sure your colds aren't allergies?

The best thing for a cold is red wine, so drink plenty of red wine on your flight. The red wine won't do anything for the cold, but you won't mind it so much. 🤣🤣🤣

Thin, aristocrat 🧸

VonVan Jul 20th, 2019 06:17 AM

We could all take a lesson from Miss Naomi Campbell⭐️

Melnq8 Jul 20th, 2019 06:30 AM

I used to scoff at the lengths some would go to before flying, but not anymore! Spouse caught some nasty, nasty Chinese flu one year during a trip to the Maldives, and I've had my share of crud while traveling, so we now go through the following pre-trip preparation:

Plenty of pre-trip rest and water
Current flu shot
Daily doses of Emergen-C beginning 2-3 weeks prior to the flights .
We wipe down all hard surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes as soon as we're seated on every plane
Wash hands routinely
Daily doses of Airborne during the trip, plenty of water and rest

Does it help? Well, it certainly doesn't hurt. So far so good.

sugarmaple Jul 20th, 2019 06:31 AM

I am that person who wipes down the tray, arm rest, seat belt clasps. Any little bit helps. We’re going to be moving around quite a bit on a trip this fall, and I’ll be wiping remotes, door handles, etc wherever we go. A bottle of Purell lives in my purse.

I also carry something like OTC Benylyn One All in One tablets wherever we go. It doesn’t cure a cold, but works very well at masking the symptoms so you feel much better. Stop the pills, and you really feel the symptoms come back.

I like the saline nasal spray tip.

Someone i know puts Vick’s on their nose as a barrier.

Good luck, it’s awful getting sick on a trip.

gruezi Jul 20th, 2019 06:49 AM

​​​​​not to increase your worry...

Our first trip to Tanzania my daughter and I took every precaution. Hep A, typhoid, cholera vaccines. Malarone. Hand wipes and sanitizers. No street food. No uncooked fruits or veggies. We packed antibiotics, anti-diarrheals, first aid kits...

We both got terrible, miserable colds. We had not so much as a cough drop or robitussin in our bags.

(What I do when traveling is frequent handwashing and lots of fluids and stay away from coughing or sniffling people.)

suze Jul 20th, 2019 06:57 AM

I don't know how to stop it from happening. I do believe in Vitamin C in high doses, and wiping down your area on the airplane. I have not done it but yes wearing a mask is one more precaution you could take. I would also try the Vicks or saline spray for your nose. Any of that might help, none of it could hurt.

What I would also do is pack medications you like to be able to best deal with it if it does happen. I rely on AlkaSeltzer Cold by day and Nyquil at night, for example, and doubt that would be readily available in Tanzania. I'd update and take a good travel first aid kit is my suggestion.

amyb Jul 20th, 2019 07:04 AM

I wipe down everything when I sit, tray table, tv screen (if it's touch screen), armrests, seat belt, overhead vent, anything I may touch during the flight. Target has Clorox wipes but any antibacterial wipe will work. I use antibacterial gel after the bathroom and before I eat. I also make it a practice to never, ever touch my face, eyes, nose with bare hands until I've made it to the hotel and have had a shower (this goes for me when commuting at home though, too, it's just my general practice). That's worked for the last several years for me. During the winter I'll take a probiotic for a couple weeks before I go but I'm not certain that itself helps.

grace44 Jul 20th, 2019 07:14 AM

Wow, thanks, lots of good advise. I have seen people wiping down everything, and will try that for sure. I will also bring some medication with me, the alka selzer sounds like a good one, also the saline nasal spray. I know they say they have disproved the Airborne/vitamin C, but I don't know if I believe that. Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling was a big believer in that. Never thought of not eating the last bite of food, but that makes sense. Still laughing at me being a hypochondriac. When at home, I don't get sick, even when we take road trips to other places. I have never had the flu and have no memory of having a fever or anything else. As a child, if I tried to pretend to be sick so I could stay home from school, my dad would say, only the weak get sick and we aren't weak. Go to school. It's only lately after a flight. Really good ideas, I will be prepared. This last trip to Ireland, I think there is a possibility that I had some allergies along with the cold. Everything was just starting to bloom and we spent a lot of time in the Botanical Gardens in Belfast. It was beautiful.

ira Jul 20th, 2019 07:15 AM

My Lady Wife and I get an Rx for antibiotics prior to each trip.

It won't clear up a cold, but can prevent secondary infections.

Enjoy your trip.


sugarmaple Jul 20th, 2019 07:23 AM

ira, I take antibiotics along too. In my case it’s because of a mouthful of root canals and crowns, but it’s comforting to have them with me, just in case.

hetismij2 Jul 20th, 2019 08:02 AM

I am shocked that in this day and age you can just get handed antibiotics for no reason! You realise you are adding to the problem of drug resistant bugs by taking inappropriate doses of antbiotics and you (or more ilikely your grandchildren)) could end up with one of those bugs and no treatment left for you or your grandchildren.
Terrible idea. Do not do that!

Most antimicrobial wipes are useless, and just add to the waste which has to be burned since it can't be recycled.

sugarmaple Jul 20th, 2019 08:18 AM

heti, in my case I don’t take antibiotics with me “for no reason”. I take them because my dentist suggested taking them because of the amount of fillings, root canals and crowns I have. I’ve posted before about this, but an infection in my mouth began the day we landed in Edinburgh. After hoping for a few days it would resolve itself, I started on the antibiotics, and good thing too because an old root canal had became infected.

i will continue to take them with me, and I’m aware they don’t do anything for viral infections. Some people I know travel with TamiFlu. I don’t see the problem if used correctly.

LucieV Jul 20th, 2019 08:18 AM

<<< As a child, if I tried to pretend to be sick so I could stay home from school, my dad would say, only the weak get sick and we aren't weak.>>>


Kathie Jul 20th, 2019 08:36 AM

I always make sure I have a current flu shot before I travel.

Handwashing can prevent many illnesses.

I also travel with my medical kit: any OTC medications I might need (Benadryl and Sudafed, Tylenol, an anti-diarrheal, saline nasal spray). I carry some cough drops and may use them on the plane if my throat becomes irritated from the dry air.

I do carry a short course of antibiotics with me in case of a bacterial infection. I rarely use them, but have been grateful for them several times over my years of travel.

I also make sure I have any recommended vaccines for the areas I am traveling to (such as hepatitis, typhoid) and take anti-malarial meds if indicated.

muskoka Jul 20th, 2019 09:22 AM

I also travel with what my doctor calls “just-in-case” antibiotics which I would need for a secondary bacterial infection or for pneumonia that crops up every now & again, even though I’ve had a pneumonia shot. I am well familiar with those. Having lived this long, I know when to take them.

My travel kit is extensive, including Prednisone, 81mg ASA, Pulmicort, and so on.

Although wiping down hard surfaces is a good idea, placing a clean cloth over the headrest & extendible sides is good, too,

HappyTrvlr Jul 20th, 2019 09:40 AM

Our PCP wants us to carry Cipro and Z-Pac when we travel to use if we get sick especially to Third World countries., Z-Pac for respiratory diseases which we are both prone to getting. We do not overuse the RXs but are prepared for any infections.

willowjane Jul 20th, 2019 10:40 AM

We too carry Z pacs with us for emergency. I have a little bag that has a little bit of everything in it for a variety of illnesses.

Dukey1 Jul 20th, 2019 11:12 AM

I suggest that BESIDES "wiping down everything" you also wash your hands frequently.

michele_d Jul 20th, 2019 11:21 AM

After becoming extremely sick several times after flying ( 104 temp etc) I started wiping down everything in my seating area: tray, tv, armrest, anything wipe able. I then use saline nasal spray and hand sanitizer. I continue using the nasal spray throughout the flight. At first I felt a little embarrassed but now I just grab my 'sanitizer' bag and start wiping immediately upon sitting while everyone else is boarding. I don't care what I look like anymore! It has worked wonderfully...haven't become ill from the flight. I did get a little cold during our last trip for which I took Airborne twice a day for several nipped it in the bud right away.

Treesa Jul 20th, 2019 02:49 PM

Airborne works for me. Also Mentholatum (lavender) on my nostrils. Almost always end up being seated next to someone coughing and sneezing non stop.

Macross Jul 20th, 2019 03:56 PM

Burt's Bee res Q ointment up my nostrils helps and if someone is farting it really helps. I also buy drip drops from amazon and put in a bottle of water and drink for hydration. It is like getting intravenous fluids. Great if you have been drinking a lot also. I take a mask just in case someone is sick. I had a person throwing up one trip and after getting up three times for her I asked FA if I could move. She never came back though. Think she just sat next to the loo rest of flight. YUK. I have the wipes and clean everything. I use to see some very disturbing stuff working at an airport so know those seats are nasty. The tray tables and the pocket that stores the magazines. I get the flu shot and need a pneumonia booster. I got sick in Ireland last trip. It was hay fever that went into a sinus infection quick. I take drugs but this was crazy. My husband was the same and it took us a month to get well. I am reading all your tips. I would like to know how you get a z pack? Our doctors won't give antibiotics anymore.

HappyTrvlr Jul 21st, 2019 08:14 AM

Our doctor prescribes Z-Pac for both of us as we have serious lung issues.

ileen Jul 21st, 2019 10:59 AM

Great thread, good ideas.

I need further help. Which pack of wipes do you buy to use on planes? Need some small handy pack that fits easily in purse, thus like to get recommendation.

Also, how do you all carry your little medications? I usually just use a ziplock bag. But thought, maybe some of you seasoned travelers have some unique, wonderful way to carry little pills, cough drops etc.

The purse, usually has so many other things while traveling, I am always trying to put less stuff in it, but medicines etc. are essential, thus need to make room.

Keep sharing good ideas, we can all learn as we all enjoy traveling so much. Good health adds to all the fun on the trips.
Everyone ready to fly soon, have a safe and fun-filled trip and remain healthy.

Melnq8 Jul 21st, 2019 12:05 PM

Which pack of wipes do you buy to use on planes? Need some small handy pack that fits easily in purse, thus like to get recommendation.

Packs of 20 anti-bacterial Wet Ones can be found in the travel section near the pharmacy at Walmart and Target for about a buck.

I carry my medications in seven day pill boxes (found at any pharmacy or discount store). I can fit 3-4 weeks of each tablet into a single M, T, W...compartment because they're small. I don't take my calcium when I travel because the capsules take up too much space and I just can't be bothered.

I carry other meds in the small zip top bags you can find in Hobby Lobby or the pharmacy and just hand label them. They easily slip into a pocket in my purse.

I know many people are paranoid about traveling with meds not in their original prescription containers, but I'm not one of them.

suze Jul 22nd, 2019 02:41 PM

ileen, I just save up the freebies like you get from a deli with a sandwich. They are individual one-use packets.Mine are just "Wet Naps" not antibacterial.

I just use various small containers - like a fancy face cream sample would come in - for my pills, earrings, safety pins, etc.

michele_d Jul 22nd, 2019 04:43 PM

I too use the Antibacterial Wet Ones in the red pack. Small enough to fit in my purse. That way I always can wipe my hands at any time without needing to find water. I usually throw a second pack in my suitcase just in case. Very small..takes up no room.

sassy27 Jul 25th, 2019 05:03 PM

I mentioned this on another post. I am someone who wipes down anything my hands would touch on a plane. I've noticed when I don't, I get sick. I wipe down windows, shades, monitors, arm rests, trays and the headrest. Also always wash your hands after going through security. Studies have shown the security bins are the dirtiest things in an airport. Stay hydrated and vitamin C doesn't hurt either.

michele_d Jul 25th, 2019 05:17 PM

Good tip about using hand sanitizer after going through security...will remember that!

grace44 Jul 26th, 2019 04:44 AM

I have a list started with all the tips, so I don't forget them. Good one about the bins going through security, will surely add that one to the list.

thursdaysd Jul 26th, 2019 05:20 AM

Actually, I read recently (maybe Conde Nast) that while the bins bad, they aren't the worst. That would be the check-in screens. In fact, all the screens that are becoming ubiquitous are probably terrible germ traps. I try to use the back of a finger as I am less likely to use that to touch my face. (No, I am not paranoid, I take medication that suppresses my immune system and have to be extra careful.)

AJPeabody Jul 26th, 2019 06:15 AM

Originally Posted by thursdaysd (Post 16959800)
Actually, I read recently (maybe Conde Nast) that while the bins bad, they aren't the worst. That would be the check-in screens. In fact, all the screens that are becoming ubiquitous are probably terrible germ traps. I try to use the back of a finger as I am less likely to use that to touch my face. (No, I am not paranoid, I take medication that suppresses my immune system and have to be extra careful.)

Best touch instrument for the germ avoider: A Knuckle of the non-dominant hand.

thursdaysd Jul 26th, 2019 07:32 AM

Yes, I do use a knuckle. Plus I now carry hand sanitizer at home as well as when traveling. I do find the proliferation of screens annoying. and I still refuse to actually sign my name, so my signature can be captured and potentially hacked. I just scrawl, and it is always accepted!

AJPeabody Jul 26th, 2019 08:34 AM

Originally Posted by thursdaysd (Post 16959869)
Yes, I do use a knuckle. Plus I now carry hand sanitizer at home as well as when traveling. I do find the proliferation of screens annoying. and I still refuse to actually sign my name, so my signature can be captured and potentially hacked. I just scrawl, and it is always accepted!

I actually like


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