When traveling during the holidays, taking care of your ear, nose and throat (ENT) health is essential to ensure a smooth and illness-free experience. Whether you’re hitting the road, taking a flight or boarding a bus or train, you’re likely to encounter cold and flu germs along the way. While this may feel concerning at first, you can protect yourself and stay healthy throughout your journey by following a few simple tips.
Wear a Face Mask
Cramped flights or train rides are unfortunately efficient at spreading germs. Packing a mask before setting out on your trip is a smart move to prevent your seat neighbor’s congestion and sneezing from becoming your own. You can choose to wear it throughout the entire flight or only when you’re seated next to people who may be sick. This small precaution can go a long way in keeping you healthy.
Another essential step in preventing sickness is to get vaccinated. The flu vaccine is a great way to safeguard yourself from falling ill and derailing your holiday plans. Make sure to schedule your vaccination ahead of time to ensure optimal protection.
Wash Your Hands
Proper hand hygiene is crucial in preventing the spread of germs. Our hands harbor countless bacteria, and washing them frequently is a simple yet effective way to reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that proper handwashing education in a community reduces respiratory illnesses in the general population by 16% to 21%. Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use hand sanitizer when soap is not readily available to prevent the spread of germs.
What To Do if You Get Sick
While wearing a mask, getting vaccinated and washing your hands are effective prevention methods, there are times when sickness may be unavoidable. When this is the case, there are steps you can take to minimize the impact of ENT illnesses on your time with family and loved ones.
Staying hydrated is crucial for maintaining a healthy body. The dry air often found during travel can leave you dehydrated and cause a sore throat and dry eyes. Remember to drink plenty of fluids during your travels.
Sleep also plays a vital role in supporting your immune system. When you sleep, your body releases cytokines, which are proteins that help regulate the immune system. Lack of sleep can lower your defenses against germs, making you more susceptible to illness. While sleeping on a plane or train may not be the most comfortable experience, try to grab a few minutes of shut-eye whenever possible to prevent exhaustion and strengthen your immune system. If you have trouble sleeping during a flight, try picking up an herbal tea at Kung Fu Tea to help calm your nerves.
To learn more about protecting your ENT health and ensuring a safe and enjoyable travel experience, reach out to South Valley Ear Nose & Throat today.