While exciting adventures and breathtaking views await travelers this 2018, the ongoing flu season would also want to join for a ride. And undoubtedly, this flu season will negatively impact the travel industry. According to the latest Update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this year marks the most number of people affected by influenza throughout the United States since 2009 – killing 37 children and affecting 74,562 more people, majority of whom are senior citizens and baby boomers.
Yes – everyone is at risk. Even generally healthy individuals aren’t exempted.
The good news is you can greatly reduce your chances of contracting flu anywhere you may be – even on the plane.
A flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting yourself against flu. But there are some more simple health habits you can do to stay healthy, travel more and help prevent flu from spreading!
Wash your hands frequently.
Protecting yourself from flu, as well as from bacterial and viral infections may be as simple as washing your hands regularly. Make use of antibacterial soap and remember to wash your hands for 20 seconds. Yes – singing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song does make sense! But it’s not every time that you would have access to the lavatory especially when you’re on the go. Alcohol-based rinses or hand sanitizers, which are available in all pharmacies, will be your best friend. Do make sure to choose the brands with at least 60% alcohol.
Learn about the germ hot spots!
If you’re always on the go, it’s worth to know where germs and bacteria usually thrive, so prevent the flu while traveling. People often get sick after taking flights. According to the International Air Transport Association, the risk of getting sick in from flying is the same with those in other high-density locations like train stations and cinema houses. In another study alarming levels of bacteria were found in different areas of an airport, from the self-check-in screen (253,857 colony-forming units), hand rests on chairs (21,630 CFU), and the lavatory flush button (95,145 CFU). Yes – that’s disgusting. And if you think you’re safer inside the plane, not really. Separate research backed by Travel Math found that tray tables in planes have an average of 2,155 CFU per square inch. That’s not surprising at all. With at least 50 passengers per flight, planes tend to be breeding grounds of disease-causing bacteria, including E. coli.
Wipe the bacteria down.
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, some viruses, such as rhinovirus (the cause of common cold) can linger on surfaces for up to three hours. That means the arm rest, TV monitor, tray table, and even the magazine folder inside the plane could be crawling up to contaminate you! Disinfecting wipes are probably the most helpful, handy and convenient travel essential you wouldn’t want to leave without.
SONO Travel wipes are versatile – you can use it to sanitize almost anything, from your plane seat and table tray, to the door knob of your hotel room, and even your mobile phone which contains roughly around 25,000 germs, making it one of the filthiest items you come in contact with every single day. You will find different kinds of disinfecting wipes in the market. It’s better if you choose the medical-grade ones as they give better protection (99.9%) from bacteria and germs.
Turn on your overhead vent.
It may seem like a bad idea but it’s actually a good way to protect yourself from the disease-causing bacteria inside the plane especially if you’re not sure whether the one sitting close to you has a flu. Turning the vent on increases air circulation. In addition to your travel wipes, bringing in a few extras like a nasal mist will maintain moisture in your nasal passages which boosts your body’s ability to fight incoming germs and viruses.
Stay hydrated and eat healthy.
Nothing prepares you better against flu than a healthy body. Flying has a dehydrating effect on your body so make sure to have a water bottle close by. Sipping water throughout the flight instead of drinking water all at once, keeps everything in your system moist and shielded from sickness-causing bacteria.
As the entire country plunges into the worst flu season in recent years, the more everyone needs to be a little more health-conscious. 74,562 cases to date – that is really scary. But you don’t have to cancel your trips this year. With a few health habits and preparations, such as washing your hands, knowing where the germs and bacteria normally thrive, bringing medical-grade travel wipes, limiting contact inside the plane, and preparing your body by hydrating and eating healthy, you can greatly protect yourself from getting sick and thus prevent flu while traveling for a longtime. Best part is – you get to enjoy more travel adventures for the rest of the year.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention