If you’re one of the nearly 47 million Americans planning to travel 50 miles or more to spend Thanksgiving with family or friends, you’re likely planning ahead to make sure you have everything you need to make the most of the holiday. But have you considered what to do in advance to make sure you stay feeling your best?
Flying for the Holidays
Flying might be the best way to reach your destination, but it can also leave you sick. Airports and airplanes are notorious for introducing travelers to a whole host of germs, whether it’s bacteria in restrooms or on your tray table, or your fellow passengers who are sneezing and coughing throughout the flight.
There are some simple precautions you can take to avoid coming into contact with contaminants.
- Stay hydrated. When your mouth, skin, eyes and mucous membranes dry out, you are more prone to infection. Drink plenty of water – bottled, not tap, on a plane – or use nasal spray to keep your nose and throat lubricated, creating a barrier to bacteria.
- Sanitize hands and surfaces. Keep your hands clean, using soap and water or hand sanitizer. And don’t forget wipe down your tray table, arm rests and seatbelt buckle.
- Pass on the blanket and pillow, or bring your own. These items are used by many passengers on many flights before they are washed.
- Avoid using seatback pockets. Passengers store lots of items here, including half-eaten food and used tissues.
Driving for the Holidays
Even if a family road trip is the plan this holiday, you should still play it safe. Being closed in a car for an extended amount of time can expose you to airborne germs and bacteria on commonly touched surfaces.
- Keep Your Car Clean. Before your trip, vacuum upholstery and floors, and disinfect surfaces with antibacterial wipes. Keep extras in the car to wipe down seats, armrests and anything that is commonly touched such as the steering wheel, radio controls and cup holders.
- Opt for Single Serving Snacks. What’s a road trip without snacks, especially when kids are along for the ride? But avoid sharing snacks where all the passengers are putting their hands into the same container. Instead, create individual portions to avoid the possibility of cross contamination.
- Have Hand Sanitizer Handy. Make sure you are cleaning your hands as needed, especially before and after having a snack, and always after stopping at a public restroom.
- Improve Air Quality. Weather permitting, let some outdoor air in from time to time, or opt for the fresh air intake on your ventilation system. Before hitting the road, check your car’s air filter to determine if it’s time to change it.
Despite your best efforts to avoid getting sick on a holiday, sometimes it happens. And when it does, it’s reassuring to know you can get the same care you trust at home, wherever you are.
Get Better Fast. Wherever You Are.
Virtual care from UnityPoint Clinic and MDLIVE offers medical appointments by phone or secure online video whenever you need care for common illnesses – even on holidays. Board-certified providers, including UnityPoint Clinic nurse practitioners, will diagnose your symptoms, recommend treatment options and even send a prescription (if medically necessary) to a nearby pharmacy. The service is available to anyone, whether or not you regularly see a UnityPoint Clinic provider, and can be used anywhere in the United States.
While convenience is one benefit of virtual care, cost is another. When you’re away from home and in need of medical care, you’re likely outside of your health plan’s network, which can result in high out-of-pocket costs. Virtual care is just $49 per visit and is payable by credit card. And, if your insurance plan covers virtual care, you’ll get a completed claims form to submit for reimbursement.
You can register a virtual care account in just minutes with only a few simple steps. Then you’ll be ready to schedule an appointment whenever and wherever you need care. Even on Thanksgiving Day.
To get started, go to mdlive.com/unitypoint.