Cold & Flu

Travel Encounters of the Germiest Kind

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Think you can’t catch a cold or the flu during summer? Think again. While it’s true that viruses spread more easily during colder months, you can get sick any time of year and especially when traveling through germy hubs like airports, hotels, and cruise ships.

So, to keep you happy and healthy during your valuable time off, we’ve compiled a list of the four dirtiest surfaces you may encounter while traveling, plus a few other tips to help you on your way.

Built-in seat trays harbor the most germs.

1. Airplane tray tables. By far, the tray table was found to be the dirtiest surface on an airplane by a 2015 Travelmath study. It had the most bacteria per square inch of all items tested (including the toilet handle). Make sure to carry TSA-approved wet wipes or sanitizer and do as Meghan Markle does – wipe down your tray and any other hard surfaces around your seat.

2. TSA security bins. Another study, this time conducted by experts in the UK and Finland, found these plastic bins to be quite germy. This news might not be shocking since it’s where we put our shoes, but what is surprising was that cold and flu viruses were found on swabs. This checkpoint is unavoidable, so what should you do? Have your sanitizer ready, or better yet, hightail it to the nearest bathroom and wash your hands.

3. Touch-screen kiosks. Whether you’re checking in for your cruise or purchasing train tickets, touch-screens are a great time-saver. But thousands of other passengers are interacting with these same devices, and who knows how often they’re cleaned? Don’t skimp on the hand sanitizer here.

4. Hotel remotes and switches. You’ve made it past all the contamination zones, and you finally arrive in your room. Unfortunately, even this safe sanctuary harbors some nasty little secrets. Hotel housekeepers will clean the bathroom and bedding, but things like remotes and light switches often go ignored. The good news is that you can quickly and easily wipe down these surfaces once you arrive.

Contagious germs are everywhere when you travel, so don’t forget to pack a few medicines just in case you feel under the weather. Flu seasons happen at different times of the year in other countries, so always have Oscillococcinum on hand, especially if you’re traveling abroad. This non-drowsy medicine reduces the duration and severity of flu-like symptoms such as body aches, chills, and fatigue when taken at the first sign.* Its convenient single doses are the perfect size for your carry-on, too. For common colds, there’s ColdCalm, which relieves sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and minor sore throat.* The tablets quickly dissolve under the tongue without water.

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*Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated.

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