Avoid getting sick when traveling through airports, staying in hotel rooms

31.6 million people will fly in the United States during the Thanksgiving holiday, according to a forecast by Airlines For America. With all those people come germs.

The Benton-Franklin Health District is urging people to take extra precautions for themselves and children when you’re traveling.

“When you’re in the airport, remember there are people from all over the world in that enclosed space and with them come the diseases they bring,” said Heather Hill, Communicable Disease Program Manager.

Hill said the simplest way to avoid catching something is to get vaccinated. Another simple measure is to wash your hands, not use hand sanitizer when soap and water are available.

“Sanitizers are certainly good. They have their place, and when you don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer is your next best option,” Hill explained. “But as soon as you get to water you got to do a good soap and water — scrubbing clean.”

Another place that can be filled with germs is your airplane seat.

“Airplanes are very dirty environments,” Hill said. “Think about how many people have sat in the seat before you, the tray the touchscreen. All those surfaces that people spend hours in the plane touching.”

Hill suggests carrying sanitizer wipes to clean surfaces around you, including your seatbelt buckle.

If you’re staying at a hotel, the sanitizer wipes are useful there. Hill said doorknobs and remotes are touched by everyone. She said the room may look clean, but wiping everything down is another measure you can take.

When you’re at a family member’s home, children are susceptible to accessing pills in their home.

“Sometimes they’ll go to a new house and sometimes that person doesn’t keep medications in the safest spot as you do,” Hill said. “Watch for those types of things.”

For more information about these safety practices, click here.