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  • Chloe Chapdelaine

How To Survive an Airport When you Have the Flu

Photo by Nathan Elson @nathanelson

Before taking a Christmas hot holiday, my preparation regime usually goes as follows:

September- Super motivated to work out and eat healthy. I’m working out 5 times a week and am only eating paleo and keto.

October- Okay, so I miss pasta. And McDonald’s. And potato chips. I’ll still hit the gym, but I’m going to eat what I want when I want.

November- Yeah so workouts are getting boring. And all my friends want to party. I’m just going to live to make me happy.

December- gym? Don’t have time. I have finals. Eating healthy? Pffft ummm everyone knows white wine and dark chocolate helps you study.

Bikini body? Well... I’m going to wear a bikini. Will it look pretty? That’s questionable.

However, within the last 5 years, based on my bikini pictures you probably wouldn’t guess I had fallen off the tracks for diet and exercise, and that’s all thanks to the flu.

The flu is ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE, but man, if you want to get skinny fast, I guess this is an option (mind you, not one you should ever wish for). You’re sweating through your shirts without even doing cardio, your blood pressure is so low you almost faint from standing, and you’re wheezing after a good coughing sesh. But abs, you’ve got them.

However, having the flu in an airport is probably the worst thing that can happen to you. (Trust me, I’ve been there 5 times). Please don’t wish for being sick.

Here are some survival tips to make it through:

  1. Do not show your weakness. This can be hard, but if you look sick enough or complain to people, there is the possibility of them not letting you on the plane. Hang in there.

  2. Make your blood-type: antibacterial hand gel. Bathe in it. Use it as lotion. Use it as perfume. Yeah, you might be sick, but don’t bring others down with you. Become antibacterial hand gel.

  3. Pack your own kleenexes. I love that airports are moving towards more sustainable bathrooms, but you can’t blow your nose into a Dyson Air hand dryer, and the toilet paper is so rough that you may accidentally wipe your whole nose off your face (the fact they already expect us to use it on our tushies is very questionable). Also, bathrooms can be quite spaced out, and when you’re sick the last thing you want to do is the awkward run-trot with a hand over your nose to find a washroom.

  4. Drug up. My mom’s a pharmacist and so I may be a little biased, but drugs can make a huge difference in how you feel. Don’t skimp when it comes to doses. Ibuprofen, Tylenol cold and flu, Gravol, Imodium, and throat lozenges are a great combo (and take all these every 4-6 hours).

  5. The smell of food may nauseate you, but buy it anyways. And also buy (several) bottled drinks. There’s nothing worse than being on the plane and suddenly breaking out in a cold sweat just to realize how hungry you are. It’s better to be over prepared than under.

  6. If you’re going to puke, use the handicap stall. I find these are usually cleaner because they’re used less, and then you have some extra space so your suitcase isn’t jabbing into your back. (Just please be aware if someone actually needs to use it so you can give them priority, and be sure to still be respectful and clean up after yourself.)

  7. Hydrate hydrate hydrate. Take a sip of water every 5 minutes. Planes can dry you out even worse than if you were just sick at home, so it’s better to keep trying to drink.

  8. Don’t pet the drug dog. Sometimes when you’re sick, you just want some dog cuddles. I get it. Even if you lock eye contact with that cute little floofer and you can just tell it wants pets, the bossy handler will yell at you. Trust me.

  9. Establish your territory. No one wants to be crammed in a metal sky-bullet while sick, especially with sweaty men hogging the arm rest. It sounds vulgar, but use that phlegmy cough of yours to showcase your best acting skills. People hate nasty coughers and so may give you some extra room.

  10. Distract yourself. Download some Netflix or podcasts to listen to, and focus on them the best you can.

  11. Dress in layers. One second you might be sweating up a storm, but the next you might be shivering. Wear lots of layers so you can remove or add them accordingly.

  12. Hang in there. This may seem obvious, but if you made it this far, keep going. Something about the sun always seems to make me feel at least a little bit better- so do your best to hang in there for the trip! No one wants FOMO.

And that’s it. These 12 little tips are mainly common sense, but can help you feel better down the road. The flu sucks, but Mexico doesn’t. You’ve got this.




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