I’m sitting here on the other side of the world, listening to newscasters discuss the fact that an estimated 800,000 people are expected to converge on Washington DC today for President Obama’s inauguration. Being at the inauguration sure would be an amazing experience. But all I can think of is ‘all those people, all those germs’.

It is, after all, flu season in the northern hemisphere, and with the headlines screaming out how bad this flu season is, why in the world would you want to expose yourself to all those potential germs?

Heck, I’m not even sure I’d be keen to get on a plane over that side of the world at the moment, given the combination of bad weather and rampant flu across the United States.

But not everyone is able to or even wants to avoid flying and traveling until the weather warms up and the flu dies down.

So, for all those traveling, here’s a few simple but effective actions that could easily reduce the risk of catching the flu, cold, or any other virus that might be lurking about.

  • Hand washing is the key. But it’s not always a practical option, so make sure you carry plenty of antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer.  Use it whenever you touch ATMs, hotel remote controls, money, door handles and the like.
  • A flu shot hurts for a second or two but might help avoid the whole lot of hurt you’ll be suffering if you do get the flu.
  • On long flights, take your own travel pillow and blanket. Unlike the ones that the airlines provide, you know where it has been and it will provide both warmth and protection.
  • Eat healthy and keep hydrated. Keep up with the vitamin C and whenever the sun is shining, get outdoors for some Vitamin D.
  • Avoid crowded spaces, and especially closed in crowded spaces such as planes, buses, and trains, as much as possible.
  • If you are sick, don’t go out It’s definitely one of those times when it’s not fair to share. Not to mention, sick people don’t make great sightseers.

Off course, it might just be easier to simply stay home this flu season and watch the travel channel on TV.

What do you think?

(photo by Annie Mole via flickr)

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