|What better way to start out the New Year than to learn
Healthy Travel tips? From the website of Dr. Oz, (An
American cardiothoracic surgeon, author, and talk show host who
has made frequent appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well
as appearances on Larry King, and CNN) see what he recommends to
make your travel pleasurable, and not forgettable...
HEALTHY TRAVEL TIPS
BY DR. OZ
We travel to work, to play, to visit
the people we love, and, when we do, the last thing we want is
to get sick. But, unfortunately, crowded airplanes, hotel rooms
Ė even your Aunt Sallyís guest room Ė are teeming with millions
of bacteria and viruses just itching to hitch a ride with you.
And at busy times such as Thanksgiving (when some 8 million
people board trains, planes, and buses), your risk rises.
Hereís what you need to know to stay
healthy and happy for that long-awaited vacation, critical
business meeting, or weekend with your long lost cousins.
The Scare in the Air
You donít need anyone to tell you how
crammed jet planes are these days. As airlines try to stay
competitive, they jam more and more of us closer together
leaving our health at the mercy of our fellow passengers. In
fact, one recent study found that when 1,000 people traveled
between San Francisco and Denver, 20% of them came down with a
respiratory illness within the first 2 weeks after flying. In a
famous example from 2003, one coughing passenger on a flight
from Hong Kong to Beijing infected 22 other people on board with
the deadly SARS virus. Five of them died.
One of the reasons planes are such good
incubators for illness is that their ventilation systems
recirculate air from side to side. That means when the man in
the window seat across the aisle from you coughs, his germs fly
right onto you. So you donít have to be sitting next to a sick
person to be exposed. To make you more vulnerable, the cabin
pressure inside airplanes dries out mucous membranes leaving
them more susceptible to germs.
Air Quality Control
Luckily, there are a few simple steps
you can take to reduce your exposure and minimize your chance of
being sick on your trip.
- Practice good hand hygiene.
Pack an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in your carry-on and
use it early and often (after getting seated, before and
after eating and drinking, and when you return from the rest
room.) This step alone will reduce your chance of getting
sick by 50%.
- Wipe your worries away.
Bring along sanitizing wipes and clean your tray (which can
harbor the dangerous
- Be wary of the bathroom.
Airplane bathrooms are some of the germiest places around.
Wash your hands afterwards, use a paper towel to open the
door when you leave, and then slap on hand sanitizer when
youíre back in your seat.
- Arm your immune system.
North American ginseng is a promising botanical product used
to ward off flu. Populations that take it appear to have a
lower incidence of viral spread. Try to be well rested and
have any chronic conditions well under control before you
- Aim the air. Make
a fist with your hand and place it directly over your chest,
then aim the air vent to blow onto it. That will give you
the best airflow to protect you from being exposed to an
- Stay hydrated.
Drinking lots of water will not only help your membranes to
stay moisturized, but it will help keep you from developing
potentially fatal blood clots in your legs, which crop up
because staying immobile in a tiny space slows circulation.
Also get up and walk the aisle once an hour.
Hotel Hot Spots to Check Out
When You Check In
- The bedspread. You
may be tempted to flop down first thing but donít do it
until you remove the bedspread, which is rarely, if ever,
cleaned. Fold it up and stash it well away from your
belongings. Then check to the sheets. Look for hairs, any
other evidence they were used, and traces of
If the sheets arenít clean, ask for a new room (if the
sheets are dirty the rest of the room probably is.) If you
find evidence of bed bugs, get a refund on your reservation
and find a new hotel. If one room has bed bugs, others will
- The phone and remote
control. Two of the most handled places in hotel
rooms are almost never cleaned and harbor all manner of
bacteria and viruses. Experts recommend using a Ziploc bag
as a makeshift glove when handling the remote or using a
chlorine antibacterial wipe and wiping down every button,
crack, and crevice, spending extra time on the power button,
which is touched the most.
- The bathroom. The
worst offender is probably one you wonít suspect. Those cute
courtesy glasses by the sink almost never get a proper
dishwashing and are more likely wiped down with a towel from
the room, leaving them loaded with bacteria. Skip them
unless youíre supplied with plastic glasses sealed in
plastic. Experts recommend traveling with your own
- The carpet. A
quick vacuum does nothing but pick up dust and move bugs and
fungus around. So, bring slippers or flip-flops to protect