Ways to fend off holiday sickness as you travel

Ways to fend off holiday sickness as you travel

Many people look forward all year long to getting together with family and friends for Thanksgiving, only to arrive sick because of a bug they picked up while traveling.

Daniel Moultrie waited for a flight inside Louis Armstrong International Airport on Wednesday. He works offshore and was anxious to get home to family in Oakland, Calif., and was hoping to fend off germs.

"Definitely not, especially being offshore for 28 days, definitely don't want to get sick now,” said Moultrie.

But in airports, and in train and bus stations, there is a chance travelers will come in contact with people who have the cold or flu, or surfaces that have been contaminated.

"Some of these viruses can be on surfaces, so any place that you think your hands may go, on a train, on a plane, wipe it off before you sit down and stay there for the next two or three hours,” said LSU Health Infectious Diseases Specialist Dr. Fred Lopez.

In Armstrong International, some travelers donned masks.

"If you're next to someone who doesn't have any symptoms of infections or anything like that, I don't think the mask is going to be particularly helpful to you,” Lopez said.

But if you are in contact with someone exhibiting cold or flu symptoms, there are things you should do to try to reduce your odds of getting what they have. Lopez said hand hygiene is critical.

"You need to be careful, you need to make sure you don't touch their hands, you need to make sure you're not exposed to any possible respiratory secretions from those individuals because you're close enough, within 6 feet, to have acquisition of an infection just by that proximity,” he said.

And they are precautions that should be carried into family gatherings.

“It's a lot of hand washing,” said Twanna Hale, another traveler.

And no matter where you spend the holidays, doctors said it is a good idea not to consume too much alcohol because of the impact on your ability to fend off viruses.

“Don't drink a lot, because if you get dehydrated we know that your airways get dry, and that's a nice way for microbes, bugs, bacteria, viruses to access the respiratory tract more easily and cause infections,” Lopez said.

And if you're  not feeling so hot for the holidays, you may want to follow the following advice.

"Stay home. Why go and expose other people to your illness on any of these planes, or trains, or gatherings of family members?” Lopez said.

Copyright 2014 WVUE. All rights reserved.