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Hygienic Traveling Tips

By: Pain Management Center of Houston | Published 06/21/2022

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Traveling can be a lot of fun, but it can also be very dirty! With the masses of people that go through subways, bus stations, and airports, these places often are home to a lot of different bacteria. Here are a few hygienic traveling trips to keep your trip as fun or productive as possible! 

Wash your hands

Washing your hands may seem like an obvious travel trip, but that is for good reason. It is always good to practice good hand hygiene throughout your day, but it is especially important to do so when traveling. Hand railings, doorknobs, seat belts, and armrests are all things people touch frequently when traveling. Since humans use their hands so much, they can be a large spreader of bacteria. When traveling, washing your hands as much as possible, but especially after touching common touching points, can help create a more hygienic traveling experience for you. Washing your hands with antibacterial soap and water before and after meals and after touching common touching points will help keep your travel more hygienic.  

Keep sanitizer handy 

While soap and water may not always be readily available to you, you can keep your hands clean by carrying hand sanitizer. There are travel-friendly sizes of hand sanitizer that are perfect for pulling out after buckling your seatbelt on the airplane, before opening a water bottle or consuming any food. The travel-sized containers can clip on the outside of your luggage or fit in your pocket, making them easy to access at all times. 

Don’t touch your face

We get sick when the bacteria around us get into our bodies. This is often done through hand-to-face contact. People sometimes put their heads in their hands to rest or scratch their faces, but it is best to make a conscious effort to avoid this while traveling. As we cannot always ensure our hands will stay bacteria-free when we are traveling, it is important to avoid touching your face as much as possible. Bacteria can travel into your body through your nose and mouth, so avoiding touching your face will help prevent the bacteria from getting inside your body and making you sick.

Maintain your nails

It is also important to give bacteria fewer places to rest. Bacteria can reside in your fingernail tips. In fact, the fingertips and elbows contain between 2 to 10 million bacteria. Because these body parts harbor so much bacteria, it is best to keep your fingernails clean. If possible, keeping your fingernails short can also aid in more clean travel as bacteria will have less protection from your nails to hide in and will be more readily removed through soap and water. Giving your nails a quick trim before travel can aid in a cleanlier experience.   

Shower often

Showering frequently can also aid in a more hygienic travel trip. While our hands come into contact with a lot of bacteria, your hair also collects bacteria at high rates. The follicles of your hair can house a lot of bacteria. Washing your hair and showering often will rid your hair of the bacteria and prevent too much bacteria from building up in your hair.  

Maintain mouth cleanliness

Practicing good oral hygiene is also a key step to take in caring for your hygiene while traveling. If bacteria does get into your mouth, using antibacterial mouthwash and regular teeth brushing can help break bacteria down and prevent you from getting sick. 

Hydrate

Drinking water and staying hydrated can help defend your body against bacteria. Saliva has antiseptic properties which make a plaque biofilm that stops the buildup of unhygienic bacteria in your mouth. This natural defense mechanism can be aided by drinking more water. Drinking water is good for more than just your mouth’s defenses though, as staying hydrated helps the body’s immune system be stronger and better fight off sickness. 

Be mindful 

Simply being mindful of the number of people passing through places you travel and, thus, the increased amount of bacteria present in such places can be helpful for a more hygienic travel experience.  While it is not possible to avoid touching everything while traveling, it is best to be mindful and avoid touching common touchpoints when you can afford to do so. Things like handrails  (if you do not need them for support), ATMs, and door handles collect a lot of bacteria because so many people repeatedly touch them with their own hands that contain bacteria from different places. Try to use contactless pay options or a mobile boarding pass on your phone. Being aware of common touchpoints and making a conscious effort to only touch what you need to, and wash or sanitize your hands as soon as possible when you do touch things in a highly trafficked area, can help create a more sanitary travel experience for all.  

Keep your travel experience positive by decreasing the amount of harmful bacteria you pick up along the way by following these hygienic travel tips.

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