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Stanford Medicine

Health and Fitness

Guest post: Healthy traveling is happy traveling

Wintertime means the joyous anticipation of time off school or work, and trips near and far to visit relatives or bask in the Hawaii sunshine. Unfortunately, winter vacation can also bring colds, strep throat or food poisoning. Here are three tips to have a terrific time while avoiding trips to urgent care:

Practice scrupulous hygiene, and teach your kids the same.

I can’t over-emphasize the importance of this. If you’re casual about hand-washing, now is the time to step it up. Open public restroom doors with a tissue. Use your knuckles to push elevator buttons in the hotel. Carry your own pens. Wipe off hotel phones before using them. Remember, if someone can cough on it or touch it after using the restroom – well, you know the rest.

Get plenty of rest.

We can hear all the harassed mothers laughing bitterly at this one as they pack feverishly for Grandma’s, but being exhausted is like holding up a huge WELCOME sign for viruses. Immune systems work pretty well when they aren’t taxed to the limit. How many times have you “powered through” the work week, made it on to the plane, and woken up sick at your destination the next day? Consider taking a half day off work extra to prepare, or plan to have your work duties lessened in the days leading up to vacation.

Be careful about toting food.

With the arduous process of getting multiple people packed and ready to go two hours before a flight, that container of yogurt or that turkey sandwich might not have seen a refrigerator for a good while before you finally end up eating it. Keeping things frozen until you tote is a good strategy; you can also invest in some insulated containers to keep food cold.

Monya De, ’00, MD, MPH, manages social media for MD Delivered, Inc. of Los Angeles and Orange County. She received her BA from Stanford in human biology.

Previously: Avoiding illness during air travel and Stanford nutritionist offers guidelines for eating healthy on the go
Photo by lunchtimemama

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