It’s that time of year again… Time to pack the suitcases and hop in the car with the whole family and travel to your Aunt’s, Mom’s or Grandma’s house. Unfortunately, holiday season collides with cold and flu season. So here are a few tips for staying healthy while you travel. After all, we want you to travel well!
If you’re able, get a flu shot at least two weeks prior to traveling. It will take two weeks for the vaccine to begin providing your body protection. You can also help keep your immune system strong by getting a good night’s sleep. Healthy eating leading up to your flight can also be very helpful in keeping you well.
Know When to Stay Home
If you’re already feeling under the weather, should you stay home? Probably. Chances are that your immune system has already been compromised. If you travel while you’re sick, you could make yourself sicker. There’s also an element of common courtesy here. You don’t want to show up at Grandma’s house only to spread your illness to the whole family. If you’re not sure what you should do, ask your provider.
Wipe it All Down
A virus can live on surfaces within a plane or car for up to 24 hours. Common areas, plane tables and armrests are not going to be cleaned as often as any of us would like. Cary sanitized wet wipes with you. Wipe it all down—every surface you can, as often as you can.
Wash Your Hands Every Chance You Get
We know that this sounds super obvious. But, at the end of the day, the best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands. That’s because soap and water kills more germs than hand sanitizer. This is especially effective if you wash for 20 seconds, being sure to scrub every surface of your hands, before you rinse. If you aren’t able to wash your hands frequently, the CDC recommends hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol as a backup.
Traveling and having the heater turned on in chilly weather can cause our noses and mouths to dry out, which can compromise your immune system. Keeping our mucus membranes moist is a great defense to respiratory viruses. Using saline nose spray and eye drops to moisturize your eyes can help. But the most important factor in keeping hydrated is water. Drink plenty of water and try to avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol.
At the end of the day, we’re all susceptible to germs and the common cold. At the same time, we want to make the time we get to spend time with friends and family during the holidays and be free of the discomfort that comes with cold and flu season. By getting your flu shot, keeping hydrated, washing hands as often as possible, and sanitizing properly, you can enjoy the holidays and travel well! In the event you get a cold on the road, you can find us at one of our sixteen locations throughout Alabama.