Q&A: Travelling and Covid-19 – what precautions to take

“I am travelling abroad soon and feeling slightly nervous. I am obviously concerned about catching the virus, although I’ve been vaccinated, as I know it’s still possible to succumb to Covid. What can I do to protect myself but, importantly, feel less anxious about the holiday?” 

Clinical Nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, answers.

This is a common feeling at the moment and is not helped by the fact that coughs, colds and respiratory infections are set to rise when people start to mix again. However, there is lots you can do to protect yourself. Most important is the health of your own immune system, which is there to fight off any potential invaders.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

A range of colourful fruits and vegetables

Make sure you are eating plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables, which are packed with immune-boosting vitamin C and antioxidants which are also great for overall health.  For starters a daily juice will help increase your nutrient intake.  A mixture of beetroot, apple, ginger and carrot is a wonderful example of all that is great about juicing!

Take a Vitamin D supplement

Vitamin D and a sunshine written into the sand on beach

I would certainly recommend continuing to take a vitamin D supplement, although you may be travelling to a sunny country. We are not sure how much vitamin D the body actually stores, but we know from research that having good blood levels of vitamin D can protect against upper respiratory tract infections.

Take care of your tummy

Close up on woman's tummy with beach background

Interestingly, so much of what happens within the immune system stems from the gut, so looking after the gut microbiome is essential for good immunity.  It’s important to encourage diversity of good bacteria within the gut which is where eating a rainbow of colours can make a positive difference.

Additionally, fermented foods contain probiotics or friendly bacteria so go for natural yoghurt, tempeh, kimchi and kombucha.  Taking a course of probiotics before travelling will further protect the gut and your immune health. We are all more prone to stomach upsets when travelling, and probiotics will also help protect you from traveller’s tummy.


Close up of hands using hand sanitiser

Colloidal silver, which is readily available in health food stores in spray form, is an amazing antibacterial and antiviral and can easily be sprayed around you on the plane, without being offensive to anyone else. And don’t forget to sanitise your hands at every opportunity.

Sleep well

Woman in bed hugging a pillow having a good nights' sleep

Getting good quality sleep is also essential for good immune health.  Travelling and staying in different environments can frequently upset the body’s natural rhythms.  If this is a problem for you, take the herb valerian with you, again readily available in health food stores.  Valerian is great for aiding sleep without causing drowsiness the next day and can also help relaxation, so you’ll feel generally calmer too.

Nothing is ever going to 100% of course, but if you’ve taken all the necessary preventions you can, this should help ease your anxiety and hopefully enable you to enjoy your much-needed holiday.

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