Travel germs, tips on how to protect yourself when you travel this holiday season

Local Health Alert

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – No one wants to be bothered with icky germs while celebrating the holidays, but it will happen for someone. However, Local 24 News has some ideas that might keep you in the clear. Sometimes, you just can’t escape it.

“I know that there are good germs, and there are bad germs,” said Lawanda Womanck, a Memphis resident.

It is the bad ones we don’t want. As holiday travel picks up, so do the germs. 

“We usually see a trend upwards of respiratory infections around the holidays,” said Dr. Dale Criner, Saint Francis Hospital Bartlett Emergency Department Medical Director. 

Dr. Criner said especially in confined areas –such as an airplane– it can be a bit of a bugger.

“It’s circulating in an airplane just like the mall and any other place that you’re at,” said Dr. Criner.

“That’s the best way to travel, I think. It’s also the quickest, but it may not be the safest or healthiest way to travel,” said Stan Salmons, an Arkansas resident.

Here is why.

“If somebody sneezes into the air, those particles are released. Somebody else can breathe them in and that’s how illnesses spread,” said Dr. Criner.

The spots with the most germs might surprise most. 

“Surprisingly, even though the bathroom does have germs, it’s actually not the germiest. It’s the tray tables and the back of the seat that are the germiest,” said Dr. Criner.

Here is what you should do if you are traveling this holiday. 

“Of course, nothing beats a little handwashing, a little soap and water,” said Salmons.

“Make sure that you use good judgement when it comes to things that you touch,” said Womack.

Those with a virus are not off the hook either. 

“If you know you’re sneezing a lot, if you know you’re coughing a lot, it’s perfectly fine to put on a mask when you’re traveling through the airport,” said Dr. Criner. 

He said washing your hands is extremely helpful. He recommends washing them for 20 to 30 seconds to be thorough.

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