Hitting the road for the holidays? You’re not alone. More than 80 million Americans are expected to travel by car, plane and train this week. And they’re packing more than just presents (think – snotty noses, dirty hands and uncovered coughs). Follow these handy hygiene tips to stay clean and healthy while traveling:
1. Wash your hands! Your mom was right – you do need to wash up before dinner, and before doing other things as well. Remember to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds — enough time to serenade yourself with the “Happy Birthday” song twice — after using the restroom or touching shared surfaces (airport escalator, door handles, etc.), and before eating, touching your face or holding your newborn niece! Extra tip: don’t forget fingernails and wrists while washing.
2. Sanitize. No access to soap and a sink? A hand sanitizer can help – but only if your hands aren’t visibly dirty. Add a dime-sized amount to your palms and rub your hands together thoroughly. Be sure to let your hands dry before eating – sanitizer isn’t known for its delicious taste.
3. Stay hydrated and nourished. Keep your body running smoothly by drinking plenty of water and eating healthy foods with plenty of immune-supporting vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Extra tip: Pack your own healthy snacks rather than relying on vending machines and expensive gift shop fare.
4. If it looks dirty, it probably is. That weathered-looking magazine in the seat pocket, the smudge-covered door handle – there’s no need to avoid touching anything altogether, but it’s important to be mindful of places where germs can gather. If you do touch these things, just be sure to wash or sanitize before eating or touching your face.
4. Be kind and cover up. If you’re the one with a stubborn cough or suffering from a sneezing fit, be sure to cover your mouth and wash your hands before touching any shared surfaces.