It’s cold, AND it’s cold and flu season.  That’s no lie, and your runny nose is there to underscore the truth of the matter.  But, there are a few things you can do to either 1) fight the cold your fighting or 2) prevent other colds before they start.  And, luckily, they don’t involve blood lettings, dubious drugs, or other chicanery of the modern day holistic.  This is science-founded.  And, you don’t have to go to an institute of science in order to effect these changes.  All you have to do is follow this sunny acrostic from Dr. Margaret Lewin, Medical Director at Cinergy Health, to B.E.A.C.H.T.I.M.E. by the water. 

Be sure to use sunscreen whenever you’re outdoors and cover up during the sunniest part of the day. Not only is sun exposure a risk for skin cancers in the long term, but it’s a major cause of pre-mature wrinkling in the shorter term. (Just take a look at the unprotected middle-aged faces sharing the sun with you –they’re probably at least 10 years younger than you’d predict by looking at their skin.)

Eat healthily. One of the great attractions of travel is eating all those wonderful new foods, tastefully prepared by someone other than yourself. You really can eat healthily without feeling deprived by following a few simple rules.

Eat slowly – it takes at least 20 minutes to ‘feel full’, so you’ll eat less and enjoy it more if you just slow down

·         Skip the bread (or share a piece)

·         Order a great salad as an appetizer – dressing on the side

·         Choose any fabulous main course (as long as it’s not fried) – sauce on the side

·         Share your dessert – or order some wonderful tropical fruit

·         Order wine by the glass so you and your companion won’t feel compelled to finish the bottle

Always wash your hands carefully before eating and before touching your face. There is only one way to catch a cold or the flu: by getting the virus directly from an ill person’s sneezing or coughing directly at you, or by his coughing into his hand then touching a doorknob or banister which you yourself touch, picking up the virus. Once you touch your face or food with that hand, you’re well on your way to spending part of your long-awaited vacation huddled under the covers alone except for some aspirin and a cup of lukewarm chicken soup.

Check the weather reports for your destination, so that you take proper layers of clothing in case of inclement weather.

Have all your medications in your carry-on luggage to prevent missing doses if there are unexpected delays or your checked luggage gets lost.

Take with you a list of all your medications (and their doses) and any allergies; and put the list – together with your doctor’s business card – in your wallet… just in case.

Inspect your health insurance policy before you leave, making sure that you’re covered during your trip. If not, take a look at such internet sites as to find inexpensive travel health and accident coverage.

Make sure to get your flu shot(s) at least two weeks before your travel, so it has time to rev up your immune system for your trip.

Expect delays during your travel, and take healthy snacks with you so you’re not dependent on the unhealthy (and expensive) fast foods available when winter weather slows air and ground traffic.