Traveling during the winter months is usually a good thing – no crowds, discounted prices, and holiday events. It can be fun to explore different cities, towns or even states and experience new things and meet new people along the way.
However, with the fun comes a few challenges. There are many germs that lurk in airports, bus terminals, and train stations that can wreak havoc on your immune system which is already taxed from being exposed to the cold, dry air found outside during wintertime. You might have even been ill prior to your travel so you know that you’re especially susceptible to catching something.
Here are some tips on how to be safe during your travels:
Wear layers – they guard against colds and flu since germs cannot easily get into the body through fabrics. Avoid going out in the cold with wet hair or feet because this can cause problems in itself.
Wash your hands with soap and water as often as possible. Alcohol-based hand wipes are an acceptable substitute when sink access is out of the question – just make sure that they contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective against most germs.
Ventilation is important in preventing respiratory disease, so keep moving and don’t stand still in enclosed areas for too long.
Avoid touching your face – this is a common way that germs enter the body and cause illness. That means no coughing into your hands or covering your mouth with your hand while sneezing, which can expose others to whatever nastiness you’re carrying.
Be aware of the flu and know the symptoms – this is important in order to take precautions. The flu can be caught through droplets in the air and on surfaces that others touch, including your hands. That’s why it’s also important to wash your hands frequently while traveling – especially after touching handrails, railings, or anything else that other people have touched.
Protect yourself from Airborne Illness – many people travel by plane, train or bus. Taking precautions to avoid the spread of germs is very important for others around you who may be more susceptible to catching something if you are already sick.
This means that you should wear a mask like the one pictured above, especially if you’re feeling under the weather. Contrary to popular belief, it does not appear that this mask is associated with SARS or Swine Flu – it’s just plain old-fashioned influenza prevention.
The mask does not need to be uncomfortable either – your dentist can provide you with dental-type masks that are comfortable and effective at preventing spreading germs.
If you do find yourself sick during your travels, try to stay clear of any extra travel days and other people. Relax in your room and get plenty of rest.