pen rainbow

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Good For You—Good for You When You're Traveling

6 simple ways to avoid getting sick while you are traveling...

A cool display at McCarran International in Las Vegas

Here are some handy tips from my adventures in airports, on public transit, at conventions, and in hotels.

1.  Disposable Wipes
Get Monkish!  Carry a pack of Handi Wipes or Wet Ones in your carry-on.  On the plane, wipe down the drop-down tray, the armrests, the inside and outside edges of the magazine pocket, and the seat-belt clip.  It is the first thing I do after I find my seat on the plane, and I am frequently asked by other passengers if they can have one, as well.  

2.  Saline Nasal Spray
Sick people have to travel, so when you board a plane, chances are somebody has a cold or the flu.  Since the air is circulated and because of the close proximity inside of the cabin, a shot of saline spray before you board the plane is a good preventive measure.  If it's a long flight, another dose on the plane or between connections will help.  A saline environment makes it harder for viruses to attach to the lining of the nose and throat.

3.  Cootie-Free Zone
Flu droplets can travel for 6 feet according to the CDC.  To be on the safe side, stay at least 8 feet away from someone who is actively snorting &/or coughing.  If a sick person sits down next to you, change seats.  I'm usually in the first group to get on the plane, so changing seats is relatively easy when everyone is still boarding and getting seated.

4.  Avoid door knobs, door handles & elevator buttons
Sick people are already sick, and if they're in a public space, they can't help spreading their germs to others.  Most viruses are spread by contact, so avoid the most common ways to come into contact with germy surfaces.

Use your wrist or the sleeve of your jacket to open large doors.  In busy public areas, wait until somebody else opens the door and then go through.  I've seen this strategy used at Disney World when women are leaving the restroom.  People who are actively trying not to get sick don't want to pick up a bug on the way out.

I also use my knuckles to push elevator buttons.

5.  Wash Your Hands
Be religious about this one.  It's hard to avoid coming into contact with germs when you're sharing public spaces, so hand washing is a simple and very effective way to keep from getting sick.

6.  Avoid Touching Your Face
Generally avoid rubbing your eyes, scratching your nose, and touching your face while traveling.  Rhinoviruses are transmitted through the mucous membranes.

Safe travels, everyone!