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Daily Q&A: Half of holiday travelers get sick — how can I tip the odds in my favor?

I understand some 50 percent of holiday travelers become sick. What can I do to stay healthy during my travel time?

Dr. Margaret Lewin, Medical Director of Cinergy Health, says data does show 50 percent of holiday travelers become ill.

Lewin offers several suggestions to protect yourself from common sources of viruses and bacteria while traveling, including ATMs, airplane bathrooms, the hotel TV remote, and public drinking fountains:

• They say "Money is dirty", but it's a lot cleaner than the ATM machine buttons you (and hundreds of others) press in order to retrieve some money! Press those buttons, "stash the cash," and then scrub your hands with handsanitizer.

• Airplane bathrooms: watch out when you flush. Hazardous particles will fly! Airplane bathrooms are used by dozens of people on each leg of your flight, leaving behind in that cramped space splatters from overly enthusiastic flushing and poorly draining sinks. So squat over the seat if no paper cover is available, close the lid before flushing, open the corridor door a crack before scrubbing your hands, then back out the door.

• Take care in hotel rooms. Despite the best efforts of hotel staffs, past guest often leave viruses, bacteria and mold. Wear slippers, sleep between the sheets, and avoid touching your face with anything but well-scrubbed hands and freshly laundered linens.

• Avoid public drinking fountains. Carry (or buy) your own beverages if possible; if not, let the water run for several seconds; then drink as far downstream from the spigot as you can.

Question for the Consumer's Edge? Send it to ipenn@sptimes.com or twitter.com/consumers_edge. Questions are answered only in this daily feature.

Daily Q&A: Half of holiday travelers get sick — how can I tip the odds in my favor? 12/11/09 [Last modified: Friday, December 11, 2009 10:44am]
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