To grandmother’s house we go!

Whether you’re visiting family or embarking on a fun getaway with the kids this holiday season, the last thing you want is to come down with a cold or flu after spending hours on the road or in the air.

The good news: There are some simple steps you can take to keep your family from getting sick when traveling for the holidays.

Prepare Your Mommy Survival Kit

Before you head out the door, make sure you’ve packed all of your germ-fighting essentials in a purse or carry-on. Include hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to use to help reduce your family’s risk of being exposed to cold and flu germs. Also, disposable tissues are a help when runny noses are activated.

Get the Flu Vaccine

If you haven’t already done so, now’s the perfect time to get your family vaccinated against the flu. The flu shot can help you avoid getting the flu, or potentially lessen the severity of flu symptoms, if you do get it. Keep in mind that it takes your body about two weeks to develop the antibodies needed to defend against the flu, so the sooner you can get vaccinated, the better.

Practice Good Hand Hygiene

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again (and again … and again) – proper hand-washing is the #1 way to reduce your risk of catching a cold or flu and avoid spreading germs to others. Whether you’re traveling by car, plane, or train, practicing good hygiene will help deter hitchhiking germs on the prowl for their next victim.

Need a quick hand-washing refresher? Encourage your family to follow these essential steps:

1. Wet your hands with warm water.
2. Lather up with soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
3. Scrub your hands for 20 seconds – about the time it takes to say the alphabet slowly or hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
4. Rinse your hands well under warm, running water.
5. Dry your hands thoroughly using a clean towel, cloth or paper, or an automatic hand dryer (in public restrooms).

Soap and water may not always be handy while traveling, so it’s also important to have a portable container of hand sanitizer with you at all times … because you never know when you may need it.

If Traveling by Plane…

With millions of families taking to the skies during the holiday travel season, airplanes are a hub for spreading cold or flu germs (along with others) carried by infected passengers.

Follow these steps to reduce your family’s risk of contracting or spreading cold or flu germs while in the air:

  • Pack disinfecting wipes in your carry-on or purse to sanitize frequently touched surfaces – including seat belt buckles, tray tables, armrests, bathroom surfaces, and overhead light switches and ventilation controls.
  • Pack hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol in your carry-on or purse and use it frequently while onboard the plane.
  • Keep the air vent above your seat in the open position for optimum ventilation.
  • Little one has a runny nose? Encourage your child to cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue (best option) or elbow (second best). Avoid sneezing into hands or the cabin air to help prevent spreading germs to fellow passengers. Place used tissues in a purse, clothing pocket, or backpack (not the seat back pocket in front of you) until they can be properly disposed of in a trash can.
  • If possible, don’t fly when you or another member of your family is sick, and boost your resistance to germs by adopting a healthy lifestyle on the ground.

Don’t let cold or flu germs get in the way of your holiday spirit this year!