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marmoset's avatar

I have a bad cold and I'm prepping for a long day of plane travel this Sunday. Any advice to help me be less sick four days from now?

Asked by marmoset (1166points) June 30th, 2010

This Sunday I start a fairly brutal day of transit that will last about 25 hours total—three plane legs (including one eight-hour leg), a bus, and a train. No possibility of rescheduling; it’s a work trip.

I have a bad cold that started two days ago. As of today I’m well into the sore throat part and I’m just starting the runny-nose part.

I’m getting as much rest as I can (although the huge amount of work and stress I have this week means I’m not getting as much rest as I wish I could). I’m drinking lots of water, avoiding caffeine, and breathing only fresh air (not air conditioned air).

What else do you recommend I do? Thank you for any advice.

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22 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Just be sure and take Sudafed before take-off and landing (if more than six hours later). You might want to take a mask if your are coughing. (For the benefit of your fellow passengers.)

I shorten a cold by taking a combination of ecchinacia and Emergen-C.

gemiwing's avatar

Munch on blueberries and spinach. Rest yourself well.

Fyrius's avatar

Vitamin C supplements.
I’m pretty sure you can get them over the counter.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

Plus you can also take Apple Cider Shots every two hours followed with your eight-ounce glass of H2O, it is a wonderful way to fllush everything from your system. If you have never gone natural in the past, don’t despair, it will take your metabolism a few times of attempts to allow you to see the difference. Keep us abreast on your progress, Happy traveling ;-)

janbb's avatar

I too recommend a strong decongestant for the plane travel. Some of the nasal ones like Afrin are the best for drying up your nose and keeping your ears clear. You might want to talk to your doctor; you don’t want to mess around with being congested on a plane.

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

@janbb great answer, but if he has thin nasal pasage skin linings he may be prone to nose bleedings and; therefore, maybe find it useful to use vaseline to help with the drying effect. Plus it is fairly inexpensive.

SublimeLover's avatar

Take an Airborne tablet twice a day until you go. They are loaded with vitamins, herbs, amino acids and echinacea to help you fight off a cold, and I still take them when I am sick to help get rid of it faster. Feel better! :)

Cruiser's avatar

I swear by this regimine…it takes getting used to but it blasts a cold out of you. Gargle with vinegar straight if you can or 50/50 with water. Gargle as long as you can take it at least 3 times. Do the Neti pot or Neilmed with sea salt.
Sip ginger/lemon tea with honey and sit in the sun for at least 15–20 minutes a day. Then take Muscinex.

The vinegar gargle is key though! I hope you feel better!

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

@Cruiser Nice, I will try the Neti pot, next time, but I rarely get ill. Glad this works for you and thanks for sharing ;-), Have a a wonderful day today!

Iclamae's avatar

everyone else has given really good answers to your question already, so I’d like to point out that being in the runny nose and sneezing phase means you’re more contagious to people around you. If you can bring an under 3 oz bottle of hand sanitizer with you or keep tissues on you to cover your sneezes, it would be much appreciated by the gazillion people you will interact with during your travels. Hope you feel better!

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I’m not a big proponent of medication, but like others here, do recommend taking something for a cold. And start it at least one day before the trip so it has a chance to take effect.

Some other items to have on hand: cough drops (just in case), travel packets of tissues, and antibacterial wipes or gel.

JLeslie's avatar

Haven’t read the above, but here is my advice.

1. Colds last a week typically, so you should be right at the end of it.
2. Take a decongestant/antihistamine (it must have both, unless for some reason it is contraindicted for other health issues you have) two hours before boarding and use Afrin nose spray, keeping in mind that the worst part of the flight is decending, so make sure you have peak drug in you before landing.
3. If your ears are painful after the first flight, it will get worse each leg, it is really really important to not allow it to get bad from the first flight, don’t wait and see what happens. You can burst an eardrum. If your ears do get blocked, and it is hard to hear, it might last for a day or two, don’t panic.
4. I would say take antihistime/decongestant medicine a least a couple of days before the flight date to keep the tissues in you nasal passage and eustacian tubes clearer.

The best thing is there is a chance, as I sad above, that you will be almost completely over the cold, and won’t have to worry about it much.

One last thng, you say you are avoiding caffeine. If you typically drink cafeine I say keep on drinking. Caffeine withdrawal will put more pressure in your head and on surrounding tissues.

Iclamae's avatar

@marmoset While I do hope it is only a cold, if you start coughing after the runny nose and sneezing are over, you may have whooping cough of which there is an epidemic in California. (I currently have whooping cough in Arizona, so I’ve been looking it up and such) I say this now because if there’s no cough, and everything’s settled down, it was probably a cold and gone. But if the coughing starts up, you’re still contagious and may have whooping cough which will require antibiotics from a doc. I hope that is not the case because whooping cough is a bitch and lasts for a long time. Still hope you feel better soon

SmoothEmeraldOasis's avatar

It is a great idea to schedule an appointmet to see your physician and get the issue at hand examined to be sure that you are not going to be sharing it with those your will be around in the plane and in the port. Good Luck!

Flavio's avatar

it’s hard to shorten a cold. You want to boost your immune systems as much as possible. There is not much evidence for supplements, so only spend money on these if you have had positive experience in the past with them. Overall, it’s important to keep your body longer in an anabolic instead of a catabolic state, that is, you want to be building up tissue instead of tearing it down. Catabolic states interfere with your immune system. So, lots of sleep, rest is important. Avoiding stress is also important. You mentioned this is hard. Another thing you can do is avoiding exercise prior to your trip and eating lots of carbs. This will provide lots of fuel for your immune system and tip your homeostatic scales more towards an anabolic state.
The other thing you can do is treat your symptoms so they don’t get in the way of your resting. pseudoephedrine is a good decongestant; you may also want to take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen because your nasal mucosa is likely very swollen and you will still feel stuffed up even if the pseudoephedrine cleans you out. In the pharmacy you can buy meds that have both psuedoephedrine and ibuprofen in the same pill. I usually buy them separately, but you can choose. Lots of water is important because when your nasal and oral mucosal are inflamed and you are breathing more through your mouth, you lose more moisture. Also, the post nasal drip can give you an upset stomach. So, lots of water is good to replace your extra losses. I wouldnt recommend anything extra for the sore throat and the cough. The ibuprofen should help with the sore throat too. The over-the-counter cough meds like rubitussin etc have little evidence behind them; dont waste your money on them. Warm tea, honey etc can make a sore throat feel less raw (and they taste good). Also, some people like saline nasal spray.

Lastly, sneeze and cough into the crook of your elbow or inside your shirt. Wear a mask to protect others. Wash your hand 1,000,000 times per day.

JLeslie's avatar

@Iclamae I doubt it is more than a cold, the OP has the typical sore throat transitioning to congestion.

What this most likely means is she can take medicine or not, and in a week she will be better.

Iclamae's avatar

@JLeslie I certainly hope so but I put in the part about Whooping Cough because mine started out as a simple cold with throat, sneezing, and dripping and I thought it would be over. Then the cough started and I thought it was related to humidity but in the end it was whooping cough. It’s still going after 2 weeks. I hope you’re right but I thought I’d bring up whooping cough since you need antibiotics for it. The normal cough stuff doesn’t work.

JLeslie's avatar

@Iclamae Yeah, worth mentioning. Pertussis is horrible. Were you not vaccinated when you were a kid? Or, are vaccinated people becoming infected? Like that measles outbreak a few years ago in the midwest? I think something like 30% of people infected had been vaccinated.

Iclamae's avatar

@JLeslie I’m told the vaccinations can wear off. As far as I know I got all the normal kid vaccinations so I guess it wore off?

jazmina88's avatar

zicam works wonders to reduce flu and cold symptoms.

marmoset's avatar

I am feeling better after rest, drinking lots of water and avoiding dairy. Thanks very much for all the advice—I will consider carefully if I still feel at all congested tomorrow.

JLeslie's avatar

You may want to consider at least bring the Afrin if you are at all aprehensive so you can quickly shrink the tissues for the second and third flight if the first one causes you trouble. If you don’t open it you can probably return it.

Glad you feel better :).

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