If the holiday break means vacation time, it also means flu season. While winter is the perfect time to sip some hot cocoa and read a good book, it’s also is the season to get sick with a common cold.
Of course you want to avoid all these nasty germs! After all, you and your family are ready to enjoy the long-awaited trip and definitely not the flu virus!
Unfortunately, germs are everywhere during these cold winter months, especially when the family is traveling. That passenger next to you could be coughing or sneezing, and you dread whatever sickness they may be spreading.
Germs on Planes
One study published by the Wall Street Journal confirmed that germs lurk on airplanes. The article stated that the risk for catching a cold could be as high as 20%. The holidays aren’t just the happiest time of the year, but it is also the most contagious time. Airplanes are packed with families who are constantly traveling from one place to another.
On October 8, 2008, a group of people who were part of a tour group started to vomit and felt symptoms of diarrhea throughout the course of their flight from Boston to Los Angeles. The plane had to do an emergency landing and assess the cause of this incident. It was later discovered that it was a norovirus outbreak that caused the commotion … and it occurred on the airplane.
How To Avoid Getting Sick?
The transmission of norovirus could still happen, even on short flights. And a passenger onboard the same aircraft could be suffering with cough, cold, or flu. However, there’s no need to panic; you can avoid getting sick.
In this blog post, I will share seven ways suggested by medical experts to avoid germs while traveling.
Rule number 1: Avoid public restrooms if you can.
If you can, refrain from using the aircraft cubicle and be especially mindful of germ-laden spots in airport lavatories. Dr. Marina Gafanovich, a New York-based doctor, emphasized that many people use the public bathroom in airports and on board planes, and germs lurk on the sinks, toilet seats, and flush handles. Be sure to use paper towels when you are touching these things.
Rule number 2: Wash your hands.
Remember to always keep your hands clean. Dr. Nicholas Testa, a Southern California-based doctor, stressed that frequent hand washing is crucial in preventing sickness. Wash your hands as often as you can, especially when you are traveling. Remind the kids to keep their hands clean by using soap and running water.
Rule number 3: Always have a hand sanitizer ready.
If there isn’t a wash area or there is no clean water around, it’s useful to have a hand sanitizer with you. Washing your hands would be best, but, sometimes, you are not near a sink. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer would be a great alternative. The Centers for Disease Control recommend getting a sanitizer with 60% to 95% alcohol content. alcohol-based products are better at killing germs than those hand sanitizers without any alcohol in it. Alcohol-based products are better at killing germs than hand sanitizers without.
No need for you to have all the fun. Make sure your kids carry their own sanitizer inside their bags. And remind them to use it!
Rule number 4: Hands off!
If you haven’t heeded rules number 2 and 3, then do not touch your face by any means. Keep the germs away from your face. Germs love to infect you through the nose, mouth, and eyes.
Always remind your kids to not put their hands in their mouths or to pick their noses. That will surely speed up the transmissions of germs! Moreover, train your kids to never rub their eyes or touch their faces, especially when they haven’t cleaned their hands.
Rule number 5: Avoid using certain amenities.
Aside from keeping your hands clean at all times, it is best to not touch certain areas of the plane. There are areas that are infrequently cleaned, such as the tray tables and seat pockets. Remember, the flu virus can stay on any surface for a full day.
Having said that, keep your kids’ snacks in resealable bags so they won’t have to use the tray table. They will just open their bags of snacks and close them back up when they are done eating. If they are going to eat a full meal, be sure to clean the trays by using antiseptic wet wipes.
Additionally, don’t store your kids’ toys and feeding bottles in the seat pocket. Many people use them, so these pockets are probably riddled with viruses and germs.
Rule number 6: Select a window seat.
Dr. Testa says that a window seat is a better choice because it does not have contact with the majority of passengers. The thing is … most people hold on to the aisle seats when moving around the plane. That means these aisle seats are more likely to be contaminated, and touching them makes you and your kids more susceptible to infections.
Rule number 7: Switch on the air vent.
One might think that the recycled air from the vents will make you sick. The truth is that the air vent can actually help you. The overhead air vent can serve as your own personal shield and protection from nasty airborne germs. The airflow will block foreign elements from getting close to you and your children.
Prepare Before Your Scheduled Flight!
So, before you and your family start your much-awaited adventure together, be sure to arm yourselves with weapons against viruses.
Dr. Testa advises everyone to take probiotics in order to increase good bacteria in the gut. It is also advisable to take vitamins with added zinc. Lastly, before your travel, be sure your vaccinations are up to date.
If you want to be extra careful during travel, you could always wear a mask. Most viruses are spread through the air, so it is best to have a mask ready especially when you are visiting crowded areas.
According to an article posted by the Centers for Disease Control, getting an N95 face mask will be useful in filtering at least 95% of airborne particles.
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