Ways For You To Stay Safe And Healthy
Many people will be out traveling during the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. At PutnamCountyNews.com, we want you to stay safe and healthy during your travels. Below are some helpful tips, provided by MedExpress, to help you get to your destination safely and well.
USE HAND SANITIZER.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a great line of defense when you’re traveling, especially when you use public transportation. Sanitizers can kill almost all germs that cause infections and illnesses. Keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer with you when you travel is a quick and convenient way to stop the spread of germs.
When using it, be sure to focus on common areas that get missed: thumbs, finger tips and in between your fingers.
WASH YOUR HANDS.
Everyone washes their hands, right? Maybe not. According to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Health, only about 5 percent of people wash their hands correctly after using the restroom. That means a lot of people with dirty hands are touching doors, handles and other shared areas.
Washing your hands is a key habit in maintaining good health and preventing illness. The best method for washing away the most germs is to use soap and water, scrub for at least 15 seconds, and be sure to get between your fingers and the tops of your hands.
TRY NOT TO TOUCH.
A great way to keep germs from spreading is not to get them on your hands in the first place. Being out and about during the busiest travel time of the year means that you’ll pass through public restrooms and airports that hundreds of other people have passed through, too.
Use towels or tissues to open restroom doors. After washing your hands in the restroom, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet. On airplanes, try not to touch directly the germiest spots: tray tables, seat buckles and the tops of the aisle seats, which people use like hand rails when walking up and down. Instead, open trays or buckle in with a paper towel in your hand. And walk the aisle slowly so you can steady yourself without touching the seats.
CONSIDER A SALINE SPRAY.
The mucus in your sinuses have an important job: It traps germs and viruses, while the cilia – microscopic “hair” – moves the mucus down to your throat so you can swallow it. From there, the mucus (and germs) get destroyed in your stomach acid.
If you’re in a dry environment – like in an airplane – mucus can dry out and become too thick for the cilia to move it. That can leave germs in your sinuses, which can cause upper respiratory infections.
To prevent this from happening, you can use a saline spray while you’re flying or a nasal rinse once you reach your destination. Research published in JAMA Otolaryngology indicates that a saline nasal rise is effective in the prevention of sinus-related illnesses.
DRIVE SAFELY AND BUCKLE UP.
As travel increases around the holidays, so do car accidents. To stay safe on the roads, never drive after drinking alcohol. Also, be sure you aren’t distracted while driving. According to national statistics, about 431,000 people were injured in 2014 from motor vehicle accidents involving distracted drivers.
While you’re in your car, ensure everyone is buckled up. If you have children under 12, be sure you know the car seat or booster seat guidelines for your child’s age and weight. Know how the seat should be installed and check to make sure the straps fit across your child securely.
For older children, visually check to make sure they are buckled in before you go. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Parents Central site has some great resources to help motivate older kids to buckle up.
- Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/science/index.html
- Borchgrevink, C.P., Cha, J., and Kim, S. (2013). Hand washing practices in a college town environment. Journal of Environmental Health, 75(8), 18-24. http://msutoday.msu.edu/_/pdf/assets/2013/hand-washing-study.pdf
- Fliers’ Survival Guide for Airports, Planes. WebMD. Accessed Nov. 2016: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/airport-germs-healthy-travel#1
- Slapak, I., Skoupa, J., and Strnad, P. (2008). Efficacy of isotonic nasal wash (seawater) in the treatment and prevention of rhinitis in children. JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, 134(1), 67-74. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/fullarticle/221846?resultClick=1
- Distracted driving: Key facts and statistics. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Accessed Nov. 2016: http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a physician. It is information that is generally available. Each person has unique medical needs based on several factors including age, genetics, body type and build, medications,exposures to illness and medical history, to name a few. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition that you are experiencing. If you are suffering from a non-emergent medical situation, it is suggested that you visit the nearest MedExpress center or your family physician. If you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.