How Families Can Stay Safe and Healthy While Traveling This Summer

From U.S. News
May 8, 2019

AS THE WEATHER WARMS and the school year comes to a close, lots of families are planning to hit the road.

For many, it’s a great time to visit places and people near and far away. However, it’s also important during this busy travel season to take some precautions.

Here are some things to keep in mind – and ways to stay safe and healthy – if you’re planning to travel with your family this summer:

1. Airplanes are filthy.

We all know it. But, were you aware that research has been done to identify patterns of infectious disease transmission in the friendly skies? Although there are no comprehensive guidelines, we do know that airplane tray tables are infrequently cleaned. Given that, packing wipes to clean the areas your family will be touching – like the tray table, armrests and headrests – is not a bad idea.

Window seats are better protected from the constant aisle traffic, providing a slightly better position to avoid germs. Regardless of where you sit, however, remember the pockets on the backs of seats in airplanes are never cleaned. The pockets often hold trash, dirty Kleenex tissues, food and other nasty items. So keep your stuff out of there.

2. Flying with a baby? Get cozy.

I recommend my families “wear their infant” – using a baby carrier – through the airport. Not only will you be hands-free to carry all the packages and luggage, but it will also decrease the need to put the baby down in potentially dirty areas.

The best baby carriers hold your baby snugly and securely to your chest, allow you to easily see your child at all times and have a supportive back to keep your baby’s chin off his or her chest. Using a baby carrier also creates a natural barrier that discourages strangers from getting close enough to admire your little one and accidentally share some germs.

3. Zika is still a thing.

Just because the Zika virus isn’t in the headlines doesn’t mean it’s no longer a threat. If you’re traveling to the Caribbean, South America, Mexico, Africa, Asia or the Pacific Islands, Zika precautions still apply for pregnant women and those planning to get pregnant in the near future.

Talk with your health care provider about potential risks and precautions, including safer sex practices during the trip and after your return, if you do travel to an area where Zika has been transmitted.

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