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Seeing friends and family at the holidays is a time many families look forward to all year long! Staying healthy for the holidays is an integral part of enjoying family gatherings or holiday vacations. Protect yourself and your family while you travel, whether you’re taking a road trip or traveling by air, these tips will reduce the likelihood of your family getting sick.

Germs abound on airplanes. Take a travel pack of sanitary wipes to wipe down arm rests, table trays, seat belt fasteners and fixture handles. Wiping down surfaces that can cultivate germ growth can lessen your chances of picking up an unwanted bug. Turn off the circulated air above your seat to reduce the amount of forced air blowing directly on you. As an added precaution, take a dose of Airborne before you depart for your holiday excursion.

Keep a travel bottle of antibacterial gel available in the event you can’t use soap and water to wash your hands after using the restroom or after touching door knobs or bathroom fixtures. Use a paper towel to open doors when exiting the restroom so you don’t pick up germs left behind.

Hotel rooms can also be a breeding ground for unwanted bacteria. Before drinking from glasses run them under hot water to sterilize them, or better yet, use disposable glasses. Take a sanitizing wipe to wipe down flat surfaces in the bathroom, bedside tables, the remote control and dresser handles. If the hotel gift shop has Lysol, purchase a can and spray the room to add an extra level of protection.

Sleep is one of the best defenses against getting sick during holiday travel. Plan to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night. Burning the candle at both ends is a sure fire way to wear down your immune system which puts you at risk for getting ill while on holiday.

Eating on the go can be a challenge when traveling. Try to make good choices and avoid fast food when possible. Pack healthy snacks of fruits, veggies and cheese before you go and put them in your carry-on bag for travel days. When eating in restaurants, make sure to add a salad or side dish of vegetables to your main order as many entrees don’t include them. Also be sure to hydrate with water even when it’s cold.

It’s not always possible to avoid sick relatives over the holidays, so if Aunt Betty appears to have a severe cough, no need to do a lot of hugging and kissing, and be sure to do a thorough job of hand washing before nibbling on snacks or eating a holiday meal. By the same token, if members of your immediate family are ill, keep them away from holiday gatherings. The host and hostess will appreciate your consideration.

Planning for holiday travel will make your vacation plans run smoothly. Taking time to make sure you’re making healthy choices will ensure that you and the rest of your family feel great and are able to participate in all of the festivities that make the holidays memorable. Germs are lurking at every corner so arm yourself with an extra level of defenses this year!

About Today’s Contributor:
Jennifer Chung is a parenting expert and co-founder of Kinsights.com: part parenting community, part online health record. Kinsights provides parents with a safe place to seek answers to their questions while also helping them track their child’s health information. Organize your child’s growth and developmental milestones, immunizations, medications, allergies, and more. Connect with Kinsights at https://kinsights.com to learn more and sign-up! You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@kinsights).

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