Today, on Dr. Oz, we learned ways to stay healthy while traveling this year on vacation. It is a nightmare when you catch a bug that dampens your once-a-year time to unwind. Do you know the dirtiest places in hotels, planes, and other public travel spaces? Find out the small things that you can do to avoid catching a cold, flu, or an infection while traveling.
Use these tips to protect yourself and your family:
- Get Enough Sleep Before You Go. Lack of sleep can weaken your body and make it a magnet for germs, bacteria, and viruses. Being well-rested is always important, but traveling well-rested is more important to protect your health–especially during busy travel times when there are more people around you.
- Hydrate and Use Nasal Spray. Your nose and throat tend to dry out easier on airplanes because of the air. Dry passageways make your body more susceptible to catching bacteria. Moisten up your system by using a nasal spray before you step on a plane and drinking water before, during, and after your flight.
- Wear Socks. Any floors in a public space are breeding grounds for all kinds of germs. When going through the airport security line try not to walk barefoot. Avoid any bacteria on the floor by wearing (and disposing of) a cheap pair of socks.
- Carry Quickie Cleaning Products. Common surfaces that people touch are usually the dirtiest. In fact, airport trays have been found to harbor MRSA and norovirus. Use sanitary wipes to clean tray tables and armrests on planes as well as light switches and remotes in your hotel room or while on a cruise ship. Remember to keep a small hand sanitizer on your bag or nearby in case you find yourself in a sticky (literally) situation.
- Bring Your Own Blanket (and Pillow). You want to be comfortable while traveling (especially internationally), but using the pillows and blankets provided by airlines can often be more of an “ick” factor than an “ahh” factor. Generally, the pillows and blankets aren’t washed until they’ve been used by several people. The plastic bags they’re packaged in doesn’t mean they’re new, it means the airline repackaged them to make them look new. To be safe – BYOB – bring your own blanket.
- Inspect Your Sheets. When you arrive at your hotel make sure to look at the sheets, mattress, and box spring for any signs of bed bugs. Red or purple-colored stained will be visible and are a red flag for you to switch rooms (or hotels).
- Skip the Hotel Glasses. While hotels are courteous enough to provide glasses for you to use at your leisure, you never know where those glasses have been. For example, the person who cleans the toilet and shower may or may not replace their gloves before restocking those glasses – gross! Either bring your own cups or exclusively use the paper cups wrapped in plastic that are also in the room.
- Prepare for Public Bathrooms. No matter where you are, from an airplane to a rest stop – be wary of public bathroom surfaces. Often filled with bacteria from passengers or commuters in a hurry who don’t have time to wash their hands, you’d be surprised that what you think is the germiest area – the toilet seat – is actually one of the cleanest. Instead, door handles and faucets can often take the prize for harboring icky germs. So be smart – flush the toilet with your foot if it’s not automatic and use a paper towel to open doors and turn the sink on and off.
Staying mindful that bacteria is everywhere and using these tip may keep you healthy while enjoying your time away.
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