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germbana scarf womanNobody likes being sick — and it’s even worse when you’re holed up in an impersonal hotel room thousands of miles away from your doctor, your mom’s cure-all chicken soup and your own comfy bed.

Unfortunately for travelers, public places like airports, train stations and hotels are prime places to pick up germs. The potential for illness grows even higher when you board an airplane; close quarters and ultra-dry air mean that “colds may be more than 100 times more likely to be transmitted on a plane than during normal daily life on the ground,” Ed Hewitt reports in Avoiding the Airplane Cold.

We all know that using antibacterial gel and washing your hands frequently can help minimize your chance of spending your vacation sneezing, coughing or hunched miserably over a toilet bowl. But we want to hear other, more creative ways that you stay healthy while traveling. Share yours, and you could win a GermBana scarf, made of an innovative antibacterial fabric that kills germs on contact.

Just leave your best travel health tip in the comments below by August 19 at 11:59 p.m. ET. (Editor’s Note: We’ve extended the deadline to give more readers a chance to win!) The person who offers the most creative, practical advice for staying healthy on the road will win the scarf. Be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you comment.

– written by Sarah Schlichter

24 Responses to “Share Your Travel Health Tip and Win a Prize!”

  1. Andrew Ang says:

    Bring 2 doses of Antibiotics. And one of those doses must be stronger incase the first doesn’t work. You should never let yourself get hungry. and have a bottle of water with you at all times.

  2. Julie Justice says:

    I always use my knuckle to push the elevator buttons instead of my fingertips.

  3. Michelle M. says:

    Have a few days off before travel….eat and drink healthy before leaving, day of leaving eat breakfast, wash hands frequently, drink water(not soda or alcohol), used paper towel to open bathroom doors, if feel something coming on take vitamins, motrin, claritin. Pray.

  4. acruiseguy says:

    WASH YOUR HANDS. OFTEN. AND THEN WASH THEM AGAIN.

  5. Christiane Austin says:

    I always assume I will get sick and bring everything I might need with me. Usually someone in my party needs something from the stash.

    My best tip when feeling you might have caught something is to put lemon slices in a mug of hot water (you can sweeten it if you prefer). The combination of hot liquid, vitamin c and wonderful steam have helped me shorten and sometimes stave off completely the dreaded traveling cold. These items are readily available and free on cruise ships and almost anywhere you get food.

  6. Peter R. says:

    Start a vitamin regimen about three weeks prior to departure. I always take my Malaria meds half-way through dinner – no stomach problems or bad dreams.

    I always carry an empty water bottle and Crystal Light packets with me. I use the hot water on the aircraft to make a hot water bottle to keep me warm on overnight flights. I use the Crystal Light for hydration and carry the bottle with me for sightseeing and day trips.

  7. Paul B says:

    Antibacterial gel, Oral rehydration salts and paracetamol, take them on long trips.

  8. Work Traveler says:

    Bathrooms: Always use paper seat covers in the bathrooms, wash with lots of soap and water and use paper towels to open door.
    Airplanes: buy bottled water at the airport to bring on-board, and consider adding one of those Airborne type products. Stay hydrated, and carry travel wipes with you so that you can wipe down the seat tray if you choose to use it. Same with armrests and whatever you touch.
    Hotels: Never use the bedspread, toss it off and leave it off. Wipe down the room a bit, especially the TV clicker, alarm clock and bathroom counter. If you don’t have wipes with you, use a towel with soap and hot water. Use only paper cups that are wrapped, never glasses unless you wash them thoroughly yourself.

  9. Marlene Dovell says:

    Lysol in spray can – spray everything before you use it. If flying, use the wipes instead. Also Peroxide can be used for many things, even to brush your teeth.

  10. Jake says:

    I always buy water after going through security in airports to stay hydrated on long flights

  11. Wendy says:

    Travel with a plastic neti pot and a small bottle of salt. A good sinus rinse before and after a flight is much more effective than hydrating sprays. In safe-water areas, you can use it again during layovers in the airport restrooms for even greater protection and comfort.

  12. pam says:

    Doctor friend told us this years ago, a little bit of neospirin on a q-tip in the nose when flying…keeps nasal passages moist and keeps the bugs away. No matter where we fly, always use the neosporin..

  13. Nick says:

    I totally agree with several of the previous posts, but would need to top my list with a visit to a doctor- preferably a travel specialist- prior to taking a long flight. This literally saved my mom’s life: she couldn’t get an apt with her regular PCP, so she visited a travel specialist. During the check-up mentioned a slight pain in her leg- only hours later she was in the hospital due to a blood clot that the Doc had found. The trans-Atlantic flight she had planned needed to be postponed, but I can’t say how glad I am she saw that Doc!

  14. Place tissue in plam of hand and open door knobs, handles, buttons with the tissue making contact. Toss tissue in wastebasket. Germs left on it, not on hands. Keep hands away from face, ears and eyes. When someone sneeezes w/o covering their face, hold breath for a moment, turn corner and breath sans airborne germed filled air. Spray your surroundings with anta viral and bacterial spray. I also spray Oregano-l oil into air and lift face into mist and breath that in. Check with your doctor before using any remedies. They work for me.

  15. Nora says:

    When I travel after using the restroom, I always make sure opening the door with a piece of paper towel, not touching the door knob with my hands, just because we all know how dirty that door knob could be! I wash my hands with soap and water often to avoid catching germs and bugs when I travel.

  16. Nancy T. says:

    To avoid germs on elevator buttons, use your knuckle, not your finger, to press a button. This includes the up/down button outside of the elevator, too. The buttons are covered with germs which will transfer to your index finger. People eat with their index fingers and touch their eyes and nose with them but people don’t normally eat with their knuckles or touch them to their mouth, eyes or nose.

  17. Karen says:

    Before we leave we get a flu shot as we do Fall vacations to Europe. Stay hydrated on the plane with lots of bottled water. Before going on a cruise we stay at a hotel a day or two to get adjusted to the time change and sleep. No feeling badly when finally getting on the boat. Take our vitamins, do lots of walking, keep a supply of wipes and Lysol the bathrooms in the hotels. Try as hard as possible to stay away from people coughing in my face but sometimes this doesn’t always work. I always put together an emergency first aid kit –just in case. Stay positive and have a great time.

  18. mary says:

    Drafts on planes, ceiling fans or constant air conditioning are my enemy. I wear or carry in my bag a large scarf or shawl, can be lightweight, to cover my head and face, roll up for my lower back pain, or neck pillow, extra blanket and add over my coat or jacket on a chilly or windy day. A real life saver especially a large lightweight wool square or rectangle.

  19. jspecht says:

    I put a dab of Mentholatum inside the front of each nostril. Sounds crazy, but it works. It also helps prevent dehydration from airplane air.

  20. Beth says:

    As soon as you get on the plane, use antibacterial wipes on the armrests, tray table, remote. Put small towel or cloth on the headrest. In hotel, wipe down phone, remote, any other surface you may touch, remove the bed cover & pull down blanket. Lay only on the sheets. Same with cruise ship, train, or bus. In toilets, touch as little as possible, wash hands thoroughly & use wipes when you get back to your seat.

  21. Cindy says:

    Others have already mentioned wiping down the tray table and arm rests with antibacterial wipes, but I also wipe down the air outlet over my head. I even wipe down any magazines I might touch in the seat pouch. I wipe everything!!

  22. susan godfrey says:

    One of the dirtiest objects around is a restaurant menu. Even worse, you handle it, then immediately handle food. So, after ordering from the menu, use your antibacterial wipes before touching your place-setting or any food item. Works like a charm to combat travelers revenge.

  23. Jill says:

    Two showers a day — morning and evening — washes EVERYTHING away.

  24. Drink a lot of water! Whenever you’re flying ask the flight attendantes to bring you twice as much water as normal so you stay hydrated.

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