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Flu and Flying

Flying now, during the worst flu season in years, is a sure-fire way to get sick, especially if you're run down and stressed out.

Often just getting ready for a trip is stressful, making you more susceptible to catching a virus. Once on the plane, sharing the same recirculated air as coughing and sneezing passengers can get your trip off to an unhealthy start.

But don't despair! Protect yourself like the yogis do, with nasya—rubbing the inside of your nose with oil. The oil coats the nose's inner lining, preventing it from cracking in the dry air of the plane. These cracks make it easier for a cold, flu, or other virus to get into our bodies.

Nasya is easy. First, make sure your nose is clean. Then, with a clean finger, rub sesame oil or another pure vegetable oil inside your nostrils. On a long flight, you can apply more oil every few hours with a clean Q-tip, or cotton swab.

To further improve your chances of staying well, wear a germ mask. It will keep your nostrils from drying out and cracking and will help keep the germs out.

Also, a week or so before you leave, build up your immune system by practicing asanas and yoga relaxation and taking echinacea and vitamin C. I do these things every time I fly and I haven't caught a "plane bug" yet.

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