Monday, December 14, 2009
By Abbey Khan
There are so many hidden dangers on the plane and at hotels when you travel. Instead of getting sick this time around, follow Dr. Mehmet Oz‘s simple tips for staying healthy while visiting family and friends during the holidays.
FUSN: Like so many people, I tend to get sick when I fly, but when I take 50mg of zinc a few days before my flight, it helps, yet anything less than that doesn’t seem to help me. What are your recommendations for not getting sick on the plane?
DR. OZ: Zinc is important for general cell function, but it helps immune cell function as well. 50mg is a very reasonable dose for any therapeutic level. The air vent systems in planes are designed to be sucked in through the wings and it circulates through the cabins and usually you divide the planes into 4 to 7 cabins. The air circulates from the outside to the inside and creates a laminar flow. That means that if you cough in the middle seat, the person one seat behind you and over to the aisle is the one that gets the cough blown into their face. One of the tips that’s pretty effective is to put on the air vent above your head on low, then imagine putting a fist in front of your chest, aim it at that fist, that creates a microcircuit around you of air flow that helps push away air from other people that might be coming towards you. So, as opposed to turning off the air vent or blasting your head with it, aim it at your chest and that should help with laminar flow issues.
Other big issues are the tray tables. Sixty percent of those tray tables have significant quantities of bacteria like merca, so you might want to clean off the table in front of you with a sanitary wipe, and use that sanitary wipe for the bathroom handles as you walk in and out of the bathroom on the plane.
If I can just go from there into hotels on the issue of traveling– in hotels, take that bed spread off immediately. It never gets washed, it’s full of bacteria. Put it neatly in the corner of the room where you don’t touch it again. Remember, the glasses in the bathroom do not get sent down to the dishwasher, so if they’re glass, they have probably been just wiped clean with a cloth, so you might want to use a plastic cup or ask for one when you get there instead of using the glass ones that are there. And remember, the tv remote never gets cleaned, so either put it inside a plastic bag or bring some kind of hand wipe to clean it off.
FUSN: In addition to or instead of getting a flu shot, what foods or supplements should we take during the cold holiday season to boost our immune system?
DR. OZ: The most important thing is Vitamin D, which is well-proven to be an immune enhancer. We don’t have any data really on Vitamin C, that’s convincing enough for me to recommend to you, but it’s always been effective enough that I would never talk you out of it. North American ginseng is an herb that might be a little bit helpful. I would not give it to kids because it’s an herb. Unlike vitamins D or C, herbs are treated like medications, they can interact with other products. Omega 3 fats reduce the amount of inflammation in the liver, broccoli helps the liver, which is our major detoxifying organ by itself, which gives you more of a flexibility in coping with environmental toxins entered into your body. And that’s considered the recipe we have been using in our home. We’re juicing a lot of leafy greens including broccoli for the kids. They won’t drink it otherwise, so we try to put some apple in there to make it a little bit more palatable in there, and we crack their multivitamin which includes a lot of D into a magic drink which they drink in the morning, so they don’t even know they’re getting it.
FUSN: So how many units of Vitamin C should we take?
DR. OZ: Vitamin C has not been proven to be effective, but for adults 1000mg, which you can nitrate down. I don’t think that should be the mainstay. I would be much more comfortable recommending Vitamin D at 1000 units a day to just about anybody than Vitamin C. But then again, C is inexpensive and safe at those doses, which I think is a rational thing to add. If you’re going to do that, give them a multivitamin, which is what I do– 2500mg of A, a B-complex, 500-1000 of C, 1000 of D, and 400 units of Vitamin E. A,B,C,D,E- the five main vitamins.
FUSN: There are so many brands out there, is there a specific brand of multivitamin that you recommend?
DR. OZ: I looked at all the major chains and they all have reasonable products. I just want them to be inexpensive because I don’t want any mom to think that because she can’t afford a multivitamin, that she’s not doing her kids the right service. If it’s inexpensive, one a day is fine with me, and you have to add Omega 3 fats to the concoction. That’s the only other thing that’s important. Omega 3 fats come in different forms, but the most important is the DHA Omega 3 fats. That’s what the fish have in them. Fish don’t make Omega 3, they eat them from plankton. So you get the plankton sources– they’re inexpensive, there are no toxins in them, they’re sustainable for the environment, and you can give women 400mg and men 600mg of DHA Omega 3 fats.
Known best as the health expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Mehmet Oz is the host of his new syndicated daytime talk show The Dr. Oz Show. Check local listings to find out when the show airs in your area or visit the official website DoctorOz.com.