‘Traveling more’ is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. But what if you want to travel and see the world but you’re afraid to get sick on the way? Would you cancel your dream vacation?
If your answer was “no”, you’re not the only one. A recent survey led by MattressFirm showed that out of 2500 travelers 75 percent would not cancel their trip if they have a cold or the flu and are likely to contaminate the things they touch on the way.
“Plains, trains, and automobiles are the mainstay for travel during the holidays and are also the perfect breeding ground for illness,” says Michelle Barron, M.D. a UC Health infectious disease expert. Viruses can live on surfaces for hours and bacteria can even stay alive for weeks. When you touch those contaminated surfaces and then put your fingers in your eyes or mouth, you can get yourself infected in no-time.
Luckily, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of getting infected:
- Carry a pack of antiseptic wipes with you in your hand- or carry-on luggage. That way you can clean surfaces before touching them.
- After you have touched surfaces that could be contaminated, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer before touching your face.
- Eat foods that contain probiotics (yogurt, kefir, etc.), vitamins and antioxidants (fruits and vegetables).
- Stay hydrated to help your immune system fight off germs.
- Make sure you sleep enough before and after your trip. A lack of sleep weakens your immune system.
If you are still worried you might catch the flu or a cold while traveling, you could also wear a face mask.
So, the next time you travel take these tips into consideration. And, if you are the sick one on the airplane, bus, or train… try not to contaminate the person next to you!