Traveling During the Delta Surge, While Immunocompromised (A How-To Guide On Protecting Against Covid)
Back in the Spring of 2021 a lot of us booked late summer travel, thinking the world was headed back to normal. Instead, the Delta surge came along and ruined all of our plans. In mid-August, about two weeks before I was set to travel to Greece, several people mentioned that we should cancel or postpone our trip. But, quite selfishly, I refused. I have been in quarantine since late 2019 — yes, pre-Coronavirus. Following my cancer diagnosis and surgery in the fall of 2019, I had to begin chemotherapy. Many of the same Covid rules — social distancing, washing hands, and even wearing masks in public — apply to chemotherapy patients as well. I technically started Covid protocol before Covid was even a thing.
Fast forward to summer 2021, I was ready to leave my house! I needed a vacation. Even though I’ve been cancer-free for over a year, I still get scanned every 90 days. Which means every three months someone tells me if I’ll live or die. How awful would it be for my cancer to come back knowing I just sat in my house for two years, rather than live my life? This was my mindset around traveling to Greece. Delta or not, I was going.
Of course, I’m also a planner and a researcher so I did everything in my power to not get Covid while jamming myself into a metal flying tube with hundreds of others passengers. Despite three airports, 24 hours of traveling, and a return trip — neither my husband nor I contracted Covid.
Here’s what we did:
First thing’s first: GET VACCINATED. Since I am immunocompromised I got a Pfizer Booster about 7 days before my trip (had to wait for FDA approval).
While vaccination helps protect against hospitalization and death, it doesn’t protect against all infections and truthfully you don’t want to get Covid. Viruses are nasty little creatures. (People talk about “unknowns of the vaccine” well did you know ~20% of cancers are caused by viruses? Yeah, who knows what Covid patients will deal with in 20 years.) Anyway, here are my traveling tips:
While flying my husband and I both wore N95 masks, with surgical masks on top (because our N95s had valves). We then added face shields which we wore in the airport and for most of the flight (if we didn’t have a face shield on, we were at least wearing glasses, because Covid can get in your eyes).
The plane, as research has shown, is relatively safe due to air circulation. But, taxi-ing on the plane is not so safe (the circulation isn’t fully running at that point) and the plane can be dangerous while people are eating because everyone removes their mask. So we had two simple precautions for this:
- We didn’t eat while everyone else was eating (and we never removed our masks).
- We used an AirKave (portable air purifier) and had it running for the entire flight. (This really helped lessen my anxiety and made me feel better while the plane was taxi-ing. It allegedly creates a 100-foot bubble.)
- According to Airkave “airKAVE Portable is proven effective against several strains of Influenza, MRSA, Tuberculosis and most recently, aerosolized SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.” You can use code APLATYPUSS for 10% off.
In the Airport:
The airport might be the most dangerous place while flying. People remove their masks, wear them under their noses and there’s little to no circulation. Not to mention everyone is crammed together.
In the airport, we made sure to have on N95 masks and face shields. We also used lounges as much as possible and had our Airkave running constantly. (The AirKave has a four-hour battery, but you can plug it in while on the plane. Ours ran for 20+ hours with no issue. It was especially helpful on busses — my Covid nightmare.)
Besides getting the vaccine there are other ways to protect yourself from Covid, or at least strengthen your immune system so Covid *hopefully,* isn’t a problem. Here are my suggestions:
Prior to traveling (about 24 to 48 hours), I received a 50-gram dose of Vitamin C intravenously. I made my husband go get an IV with about 6,000 mg of Vitamin C (he’s not a cancer patient so he doesn’t need 50 grams).
Vitamin C Overload
While traveling we took 500mg to 1000mg of Liposomal C (or Ester C) every couple of hours. Vitamin C is a great immune booster and helps fight viruses (they’re even using IVC in some hospitals to treat Covid). But Vitamin C leaves your system very quickly, like within one or two hours. Therefore you need to keep replenishing your Vitamin C. You can safely take up to 6 grams (6000 mg), but your gastrointestinal system might not thank you, so start with 2,500 grams and work your way up.
Curcumin, Zinc, Vitamin D, Quercetin
I created little vitamin packs to carry on the plane with us. We took a cocktail of Vitamin C (mentioned above) along with Curcumin, Zinc, Vitamin D, and Quercetin. Compounds like Curcumin and Quercetin are Ace-2 inhibitors (they can help prevent the virus from binding to your Ace-2 receptors, which is how it takes hold in your body).
I purchased liquid Rosemary and had us drink Rosemary water while traveling and while in Greece. Rosemary can help inhibit viral replication.
Loading up on anti-viral compounds is a good idea. This includes things like lemon balm, licorice, rosemary, Chinese skullcap, Green tea, and some of the compounds I mentioned above. You may notice that a lot of these things are found in tea. Yes, I carried loose leaf anti-viral tea to Greece with us and drank it at night.
There is some research out of Japan that has shown that colloidal silver at 10ppm has antiviral effects against Covid. I used a Colloidal silver nasal spray at 10ppm every day. As the study states, “Particles of diameter around 10 nm were effective in inhibiting extracellular SARS-CoV-2 at concentrations ranging between 1 and 10 ppm while cytotoxic effect was observed at concentrations of 20 ppm and above.”
Omg, Taryn, isn’t that what all those *cRazY pEOple* take? I have a lot of thoughts on Ivermectin, but I don’t appreciate the way it’s been presented in the media. For one, Ivermectin has anti-viral properties. This is known. This is why they were studying it against Covid in the first place. Antivirals, if you didn’t know, are kind of difficult to come by — it’s why we still don’t have a cure for the common cold or flu. It’s why there’s no cure for HPV*. It’s why vaccines are the best weapon against viruses that we have. But certain compounds have antiviral effects, Ivermectin has been shown to have antiviral effects. Does this mean it prevents or cures Covid? No. Does this mean it’s safe to take just in case? No. However, there are ongoing clinical trials about the efficacy of Ivermectin against Covid and as prophylaxis therapy (i.e. can it prevent Covid). The results are very mixed. There is no proof it prevents Covid and no proof that it cures Covid, however, some research has shown it can do things like shortening hospital stay. Also, it’s not just a horse tranquilizer. There are human doses used to treat parasites. I knew about Ivermectin long before Covid because it’s really “big” in the “cancer world”. Yes, cancer patients also use it to treat cancer — because most of us have to go out and find our own cures (thanks America). And there are doses safe for humans (based on your body weight) with minimal side effects. Just make sure you get it from a doctor and not a feed store if you are interested in it.
I took Ivermectin (as did my husband) the day we were flying. It made me feel a little funny and I don’t love putting random drugs in my body I don’t have to — so we decided not to take it after that first dose.
So that’s all I’ll say about Ivermectin. :)
Lysol & Hand Sanitizer
We also carried hand sanitizer (duh) and a mini travel can of Lysol and anti-bacterial wipes. We wiped down everything around us on the plane — the window, the table, armrests, seat belts, remotes, screens etc. I didn’t want to stress about germs the entire time. I also had a second “personal air purifier’ that was an ionizer from Sharper Image. I wore it around my neck at all times and especially when going to the airplane bathroom.
So that’s really it. A protocol of Vitamin C and other supplements, personal travel air purifiers, protective gear like masks and shields, plus basics like hand sanitizer and a little common sense — and you can help protect yourself against Covid.
The one thing to remember though is this: no matter how much planning you do, some people will be carrying the Covid virus and not have symptoms. This is why you can’t rely on “but they don’t look sick” or it “feels safe to take off my mask in the bathroom.” It’s really not. One dose of viral load (at least with Delta) could give you enough Covid to cause an infection. So be vigilant, protect yourself, and protect others.
If you noticed I linked to products in this post, this was for educational purposes only. We don’t get paid for linking to products, except for the promo code for AirKave (a product I truly love and believe in and paid for!).
*If you’re interested a mushroom compound called AHCC has been shown in clinical trials to rid the body of HPV after 7 months at a dose of 1.5 grams per day.