Keep germs at bay while traveling

Wash germs away at ever opportunity by washing hands properly.

Many people travel during the holidays. Some go short distances and others go long distances. No matter what the travel time is we need to still remember to keep the germs at bay. How do we do that when running water is limited and there are so many places to contact them? Well, it is very important to note that washing hands under clean potable running water is recommended by Michigan State University Extension. Hand sanitizer is only used after spending the correct amount or time properly washing your hands.

It is important to properly wash your hands at every opportunity while you are traveling. Here is a short list of times to wash your hands.

  • After using a restroom
  • Pumping gas
  • Before and after eating food
  • Before and after changing a diaper
  • After dumping the garbage
  • After blowing your nose

During travel, we do come in contact with a wide variety of germs. This happens when people from different areas of the country or world use the same facilities. For example rest areas, diners, gas stations and airports. These areas are very public places and many of them are kept very clean. No matter how clean they are not every germ can be eliminated so it is our individual responsibility to wash our hands.

What is the proper way to wash hands? Here is a basic outline:

  • Wet your hands under warm running water.
  • Add soap to your hands, rubbing them together between fingers and the backs of your hands to make sure the entire hand and half way up your arm is covered.
  • Scrub your hands for 20 seconds according to Center for Dieses Control (CDC) or sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice.
  • Rinse your hands thoroughly with running water.
  • Dry your hands with a single use paper towel or under a dryer.
  • Hand Sanitizer can be used for extra precautions after washing your hands.

There are other ways to try and avoid excess exposure to traveling germs. Things like turning the water off with a paper towel or if a toilet does not have an automatic flush use a piece of toilet paper to flush. Carry Kleenex in your pocket and use it to open doors throwing it away into the trash after you have opened the door. When entering or exiting a building push the door with your elbow or fore arm to avoid direct contact with a door handle. At the pump wear gloves that are removed after pumping gas and can be washed when you return from your trip.

There are many ways to safely practice keeping germs at bay while you are traveling. We need to apply them and maybe come up with a few new tips of your own. Just remember that washing often is best.

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