Dr. Denis Grillo mug

Dr. Denis Grillo

Ear, Nose & Throat

It’s hard enough these days to save money to go on a vacation. Vacations are expensive, so you want to make sure that you stay healthy and do not get sick.

Buses, trains, airplanes, hotels and popular travel sites are teaming with disease. The most common illnesses are upper respiratory infections like a cold. Flu is another viral problem that can be transmitted easily. Bronchitis, coughing and gastrointestinal problems, as witnessed by the number of events that happen on cruise ships, are just a few of the problems encountered when traveling.

Research suggests about upwards to a quarter of people who travel and vacation report becoming sick a week after they arrive back home. Viruses and microorganisms are in the air and on surfaces everywhere. With today’s modern travel, people cross paths from all corners of the globe and spread their disease.

Simple transmissions of microorganisms include coughing and sneezing that aerosolizes the disease and it hits all types of surfaces that are touched repeatedly by people and carried on to the next individual. Think about how many people sat in the seat on your airplane before you flew, and multiply that by hours and days.

Viruses can linger on surfaces for quite a long time and can still be quite virulent and make people sick.

First things first, be healthy; eat right, exercise, make sure your body and your immune system are in tiptop shape. When you get on the airplane, carry along some disinfecting wipes. Wipe down all surfaces you come in contact with and wash your hands frequently.

Just imagine how many people read that airplane magazine before you. Avoid door handles; use automatic doors. If you must touch a door, use a paper towel.

Once you get to your hotel, get out the wipes and wipe off handles, doorknobs, light switches, the telephone and probably the grossest item in the hotel room, the remote control. Do not use the coffeemaker and use disposable glasses to drink water and store your toothbrush in.

When you are having a good time on your vacation, watch the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume because it can have a negative effect on your immune system and set you up for infection.

Avoid rubbing your eyes, touching your nose, mouth or face — which, amazingly, we do hundreds of times a day without even realizing it. This is an excellent way to introduce those microorganisms and viruses into your system.

When you are traveling in certain countries, avoid tap water, ice at the bar and fresh fruits and vegetables. You can take just a few extra steps to ensure your vacation will be an enjoyable and healthy one.

Denis W. Grillo, D.O., FOCOO, is an ear, nose and throat specialist in Crystal River. Call him at 352-795-0011 or visit CrystalCommunityENT.com.

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