In the next few weeks I will begin making the holiday rounds to visit family, friends, as well as some final end of year work trips. This time every year I cringe, not about the stress of seeing family but about walking through airports, sitting in crowded airplanes, hotels, and relatives homes. To me, this represent the pinnacle of germ boxes and makes my skin crawl. The worse thing that has happened to me, A couple of years ago I got the flu between Thanksgiving and Christmas, attempting to do holiday shopping, getting the house ready for guests while trying to combat the flu was one of the worse Holiday experiences ever. This year I am hell bent on insuring that does not happen. Starting from ensuring I pack the right things in my suitcase, to ensuring that when I return home I do not bring germs with me.
At the end of the day its all about Sanitizing and Sterilizing. Germs have a per-determined half-life. The period of time they can survive on surfaces and other objects. Ensuring you kill them before they can infect you is your best bet to staying healthy this holiday season. Here are couples of things to keep in mind.
a) Bring supplies to clean with you, such as disinfecting hand wipes, and hand sanitizers. While we trust the airlines, airports, and hotels to do their best at cleaning, It is very difficult to keep up with the increase number of passengers and visitors during the holidays and it never hurts to have your own items.
b) Slippers, flip flops, socks. Most likely you will be traveling for at least a day or two, and you should always use flip flops in a foreign tub, and through the security walk through. There are a lot of germs, fungi, and warts that you can catch by walking around barefoot, and using hotel showers regardless of the number of stars.
a) You cannot avoid being in an airport when traveling. Here are some things to avoid; the escalator railings are germ infested, the elevators buttons are used by the masses. While you cant avoid touching these things, you can avoid touching your face, nose, and eyes until you are able to make it to a bathroom to wash your hands. Before you eat use hand sanitizer to ensure you have disinfected your hands. Lastly before leaving the airport hit the lavatory to wash your hands, and use a tissue to open and close the doors to the stall and bathrooms.
b) On the airplane use your wipes, to wipe down the chairs, tray and everything you will come in contact with. In the airplane bathroom, DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING, it's small confined and is not cleaned during flights.
3) Hotel Room
a) Hotel Rooms are made to accommodate the masses, which means long before you checked into the hotel and walked into you room hundreds of other individuals were there before you, Even though upon your initial inspection the room may look clean, looks can be deceiving.
b) The Hotel televisions remotes, light switches, doors and drawer handles and telephone are small enough that they can be missed by hotel cleaning staff, yet touched enough by guests that they can be teeming with germs. Best to bring along a travel-sized pack of antibacterial wipes and clean the surfaces of these items before you use them.
c) Bedspreads are not washed after every guest, mainly because it is bulky, expensive to wash and a pain for the staff members to carry in and out of the room. If your hotel bed has a comforter or bedspread. I advise you to put it on the floor or toss it on a chair. Duvets covers are a little different as they are easier to wash in between guests.
d) Never walk around your hotel room barefoot. The cleaning staff most lilkely shampoos and sterilizes the carpet once a month. Wear socks or slippers at all times. You can also consider wearing flip flops or shower shoes in the bathroom as well.
4) Relatives Home
a) In the kitchen and Bathrooms always wash your hands, but most of all ensure that you are not directly touching the counter surfaces before eating your meals. Do not use bar soaps, bar soaps have a tendency to retain germs, and are re-used by multiple hands. Use hand sanitizing foam soap, this will help keep the spread of germs down.
b) Similar to a hotel, computers, desk and remotes are most likely used by the whole family, these are the things that have the highest probability of spreading germs instead opt for using your own personal laptop. While it maybe rude to wipe down your relatives remote, its never rude to wash your hands or use your hand sanitizer on a regular basis.
5) Returning Home
a) Once you have return home, based on where you have traveled to, the best and most simple thing to do is wash your hands. Leave your suitcase in your laundry room to isolate any bugs or germs you have brought back. These methods should help reduce some of the stress of the holiday season.
b) Move clothes straight from the suitcase to the Washer Machine if possible
c) Take a shower as soon as you can to not only rejuvenate yourself, but it's a great chance to clean off the hotel, airport and taxi grunge.
While it may be difficult to follow all of these steps adopting a few changes in your travel routine can help you stay healthy this holiday travel season.