Traveling During the Cold Season -
What to Take and Do
Every year in America alone, there will be more than 1 billion colds reported, resulting in more than 50 million missed workdays along with 60 million schooldays. And you see the news reports, school notices, and health alerts about cold and flu season. Why is it this time of the year? The answer is in how cold and flu viruses spread.
The “cold season” begins in November when the number of reported cold and flu illnesses rises sharply and remains elevated until late April. This is the case for North America. In the opposite hemisphere, the season has just passed. We keep passing colds back and forth across the hemispheres like the great, big, global family that we are. The main reason for it could be airplane travel.
A Harvard study found that domestic airline travel volume in November, especially around the Thanksgiving holiday, was an accurate indicator of how rapidly a flu virus would spread. The more air travelers there are, the higher are the rates for colds. The combination of drier air and people spending more time indoors enables the germs to survive during these times of the year and to migrate.
Cold weather doesn’t give you a cold. However, spending more time indoors causes you to breathe more germ-infested air, which likely contributes to why you get sick more often in the winter.
Keep Hands Moisturized to Help Keep Out Germs
Be sure to moisturize your hands regularly, as small cracks in dry skin can be entry points for unwanted germs, including cold and flu viruses.
Use Soap When Washing Your Hands
New studies have revealed that washing your hands with warm water alone has virtually no effect on germs. You also need to use soap to kill potentially harmful germs. Hand-washing is so important that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made official guidelines! The CDC advises you to wash with soap and warm water while scrubbing vigorously for at least 15 seconds.
Use Sanitizing Gel
Make sure your sanitizing gel had completely dried. Continue to rub it in your hands until they are completely dry. Germs can attach more readily to moist surfaces.
Keep Your Immune System Healthy
The best way to protect yourself against common cold symptoms is to keep your immune system healthy. Eat healthy foods filled with vitamins and get a full night’s rest as often as possible.
Add Humidity to Fight Cold Viruses
Cold viruses thrive in dry, winter air. It is recommended to keep your indoor humidity levels between 40-60 percent to help slow the spread of these viruses, plus it helps maintain a more comfortable environment for you and your family.
Fight Off Germs in an Airplane
Keep germs away by washing your hands often. And since water and soap are not as easily accessible on the plane (middle seat anyone), a bottle of hand sanitizer can come in very handy. And be sure to drink lots of water to combat the super-dry, pressurized air.
Get A Flu Shot
I didn’t use to do it. But since we have our child, I have been getting a shot every year. And it is well worth it. It has diminished the number of times I get sick and severity. I used to get flu/cold almost on schedule. No more. Plus we do not have to plan our travels around that schedule. Though it is still a good idea when you are planning a trip, to get travel insurance.
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