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Health & Wellness

Stay Hydrated to Avoid Colds on Planes

Winter’s not over yet — and cold season’s still running strong. According to a well-known study, travelers are more likely to catch a cold on an airplane than during their day-to-day routine, a fact that won’t surprise anyone who’s ever been stuck next to a sneezing, sniffling seatmate at 33,000 feet.

In Avoiding the Airplane Cold, travel expert Ed Hewitt shares some helpful tips on keeping healthy in the air. One important thing to remember, writes Hewitt, is to stay hydrated: “It turns out that drinking plenty of water will not only counter the overall dehydrating effects of air travel, which can lead to headaches, stomach problems, cramps, fatigue and more, but can actually fortify your preemptive natural immune mechanisms to function considerably better.”

To stay hydrated in the air, of course, drink water — and lots of it. Carry a water bottle or some juice (buy this after you’ve been through airport security). Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Fliers may also want to purchase nasal mists to keep their mucous membranes moist.

Keeping hydrated while traveling by plane certainly isn’t a cure-all for the cold. But it’s one simple, easy way to keep your immune system strong.

What do you do to avoid colds while traveling?

By Caroline Costello

Caroline Costello's travel accomplishments include surviving a 2 a.m. whitewater rafting excursion in the Canadian wilderness, successfully biking from Dusseldorf to Cologne without a map, and gaining access to a covert pizza speakeasy in New Orleans.

Caroline is an active member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). Her work has appeared on USA Today, the Boston Globe, AOL.com, MSNBC.com, ABC News, TODAY Travel, and CruiseCritic.com, among other publications.

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