How To Avoid Getting Sick On Vacation

How To Avoid Getting Sick On Vacation
Vacations are some of the year’s most anticipated events. Of course, no one wants to get sick and be bedridden during their precious vacation time. Colds, the flu, and food-borne illnesses can be easily contracted while traveling. Novovirus outbreaks can also occur in vacation settings.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that novovirus is the most common cause of acute intestinal illnesses. Although novovirus outbreaks occur in many locations, cruise ships, hotels and large all-inclusive resorts make convenient novovirus breeding grounds. Spates of novovirus occur most frequently during the winter months, as does the flu.

Follow these tips before leaving on your trip and while on vacation to significantly reduce your chances of getting sick:

Wash your hands. Frequent hand washing is the Center for Disease Control’s top recommendation for keeping colds, the flu, and novovirus away. Use hot water, wash your hands thoroughly with plenty of soap for at least 20 seconds, then rinse and dry your hands well with clean paper towels. Be particularly careful to wash your hands before brushing your teeth as well as before and after handling food and eating. Avoid shaking hands, too. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after going to the bathroom, returning to your room, and after touching any surfaces commonly used by other resort, hotel or cruise guests such as railings, elevator buttons, exercise equipment, chairs, public computer keyboards and doorknobs. Also wash your hands after returning from shore excursions. If you do encounter anyone who is sick, make sure to wash your hands immediately and launder any clothing items that might have come into contact with them.

Use hand sanitizer. Bring along hand sanitizer wipes on vacation to clean commonly used areas such as airline tray tables and armrests. Cruise ships usually have hand sanitizer dispensers located throughout the ship. Use them as often as possible and consider carrying your own as well. In addition, if crew members offer to spray your hands with sanitizer when returning to the cruise ship or entering a buffet area, take them up on their offer. Remember that using hand sanitizers does not take the place of regularly washing your hands, though. Thorough hand washing is definitely the most effective way to kill novovirus particles.

Avoid salads and uncooked foods. Choose well-cooked foods while on vacation. Salads are often a leading culprit in the spread of gastrointestinal illnesses. As healthy and delicious as they might be, it’s often best to stay away from salads, fresh fruit and raw produce on vacation. The same is true for raw shellfish and food items that need to be chilled.

Stay away from self-serve buffets. With their big crowds of people and common use of the same serving utensils, major buffet areas at all-inclusive resorts and on cruise ships are easy places for viruses to spread. On cruise ships, even though pre-boarding questionnaires designed to detect illnesses are required to be completed, infected passengers can come onboard the ship during embarkation day and subsequently spread the illness. That's a major reason to avoid buffet areas for the first few days of your cruise vacation.

Drink bottled water. Water-borne infections and viruses can sometimes be contracted in hotels, resorts and on shore excursions in certain areas. Opt for bottled water and use plastic cups instead of drinking glasses. Fill up water bottles in your bathroom rather than in common-use areas to avoid contamination. In addition to viruses, drinking bottled water will help guard against water-borne gastrointestinal illnesses as well.

Keep your hands away from your face. Individuals who have the flu, colds and novovirus can be contagious for as much as several days before and after exhibiting symptoms. One of the easiest ways to pick up any virus is to touch a contaminated surface, such as a railing or elevator button, and then touch your hand to your mouth or lips. Make a conscious effort to keep your hands away from your face unless they’ve just been thoroughly washed. Don't press buttons with your fingers. Use your knuckles instead.

Try to avoid public bathrooms. Bathrooms can be a breeding ground for novovirus if there are sick people in the community. This is true on ships and in other vacation spots as well. Whenever possible, return to your room to go to the bathroom. If you need to use the bathrooms located in public areas or when on a shore excursion, wash your hands carefully and use a paper towel or hand sanitizer wipe to protect your hands when turning off the faucet and opening the door.

Get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water. A healthy immune system is a key factor in fighting off any virus. Make sure to drink as much water as possible and get lots of sleep. This is important to do before you leave on vacation as well. It’s quite common for people to stress out, run around like crazy and stay up late working prior to traveling, only to get sick once on vacation due to a run-down immune system. Currently, there are no vaccines or medical treatment for colds and novovirus. Resting and staying hydrated with water and sports drinks will be very important if you get sick, too.

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