Prevent Your Child’s Germ Exposure in Airports3 min read
There’s no question that there are plenty of germs to be picked up in airports and on planes while traveling. But with travelers being exposed to the highly contagious measles virus in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport early in September and the rapid spread of Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) across the U.S., parents’ concern for their children’s health is running high.
Measles and EV-D68 are spread from person to person in a similar way.
EV-D68 is being spread through close contact with people infected with the illness. The virus is found in respiratory secretions, so EV-D68 likely spreads from person to person when a sick person coughs, sneezes, or touches a surface.
Measles spreads through the air by breathing, coughing, or sneezing. According to the Centers for Disease Control, this respiratory disease is so contagious that any child who is exposed to it and is not immune will most likely get infected.
An estimated 1.9 million American children travel internationally each year, and that number is increasing. Children generally face most of the same health risks as their parents, but the consequences can be more serious.
For parents concerned with these illnesses, there are some things you can do to ensure the whole family stays healthy while traveling.
With the ongoing Ebola outbreak and travelers being exposed to measles in Seattle, it’s more important than ever to be up to date on routine vaccinations. If you’re not sure which vaccines you and your children need, visit the CDC’s website for a complete list based on your travel destination.
When you’re going through security, TSA will ask you to step out of your shoes before clearing you to proceed to your gate. While the floor is already dirty from people walking over it, the issue is compounded by the fact that other people’s bare feet have touched the floor. By making sure you and your children are wearing socks, you will protect your feet from picking up any bacterial or fungal infections.
The humidity level on airplanes is typically very low, which can cause your nasal membranes to become dehydrated. When this happens, you become more susceptible to infection from passing germs. Avoid this by drinking a lot of water, using nasal saline spray, and keeping your hands off of your face.
You can bring hand sanitizers in bottles smaller than three ounces in your carry-on bag as well as antibacterial wipes. The tray tables, arm rests and seats on the plane can be teeming with germs. Use the wipes to sanitize everything before you child sits down in their seat and make sure they lather their hands with the sanitizer, especially since they have a tendency to touch everything.
During the flight, if your child needs to get up and use the restroom, teach them to use a paper towel to grab the doorknob when they exit the bathroom. You should also make sure they use the hand sanitizer when they return to their seat in case they touched anything else on their way back.
Photo from the spexyliciousness.