Prevent the spread of illness during Thanksgiving travel
Exposure to germs and sick people in tight quarters increases as people hit the roads and head to airports this Thanksgiving holiday.
It takes just a little effort to protect yourself from getting sick, and if you are the sick one, take care to remember others.
The last thing anyone wants is to be sick for the holidays.
The longer you are exposed to an ill person and in close proximity to him or her, the more likely you are to contract something, and that is exactly what happens inside cars, planes, and relatives' homes during Thanksgiving.
"Once you get on the plane, you're in tight quarters. We know the air is getting circulated, but we're not getting exchanges there. So if there is indeed someone on the plane that might indeed be ill, you potentially are going to be exposed to that," Sharon Goforth, Special Projects Supervisor at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department warned of air travel.
The first thing Goforth recommended was to get the flu shot if you haven't yet.
It won't help you for travel this holiday weekend, but it will for the rest of the season.
Next, make sure you keep your hands clean.
"Have some hand sanitizer with you. I have a large one here, but you can get those small ones. Stick it in a pocket. Stick in your purse. Take it with you. If you're going to be touching surfaces make sure that you do your best to at least keep your hands sanitized," advised Goforth.
It's really important to read the label of hand sanitizer and wipes. They need to be at least 60% alcohol to disinfect properly.
The even better choice is to wash your hands with soap and water.
You also want to keep up healthy habits even during Thanksgiving.
"Anything that will help your immune system goes a long ways. So, once again, making sure that you're hydrated, that your diet is good, exercise is always a good thing, plenty of sleep," Goforth recommended.
If you are the one that is sick, reconsider visiting homes with vulnerable people, especially if you have the flu.
"We still don't want to give that to grandma and grandpa. The other end of the spectrum is also at risk - anybody with a newborn. I just had a friend that had a daughter on Monday. Those babies cannot be vaccinated until they're 6 months old," explained Goforth.
Additionally, practice sanitary habits with tissues.
"You want to take your Kleenex, blow your nose, wipe your nose, take that Kleenex and throw it away. Don't stick it in a pocket. Don't stick it up your sleeve. Throw it away," Goforth said adamantly.
Finally, remember to sneeze and cough into your elbow or shoulder not into your hands. This practice helps limit the spread of germs.