Cold and flu season is around the corner. However, depending on the destination and who’s around, travelers can catch an illness any time of the year. 

In addition to colds and the flu, some states are seeing an increase in coronavirus numbers. According to data from the CDC, US hospitals have seen a 21.6 percent increase in coronavirus-related admissions over the last week. Travelers can protect themselves against cold weather sickness this fall season by following a few essential tips.

Put on Masks

Photo credit: Gift Habeshaw

Even if travelers are visiting destinations that aren’t experiencing a spike in cases, other respiratory illnesses travel the same way. Elie A. Saade, system director of medical quality and infection control at University Hospitals in Cleveland, told AARP that  “many viruses circulate and cause respiratory diseases” during the cold season. 

Wearing masks can help protect travelers from droplets traveling through the air that contain ailments. Use your best judgment on when to pull out your masks while traveling. Keep one on you just in case.

Wash Your Hands

Hand washing increased in popularity after the pandemic began. According to the Healthy Handwashing Survey from Bradley Corporation, 93 percent of participants said handwashing was essential to staying healthy. According to the CDC, regular hand washing can prevent the spread of germs. These germs and bacterias can lead to both respiratory and diarrheal infections that could ruin any trip. There are key moments when hand washing is vital including after using restroom facilities, before and after eating food, after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, and more

Avoid Unnecessarily Touching your Face

Photo credit: Gift Habeshaw

There are multiple studies proving that humans touch their faces all the time. The issue with constant face touching is that it’s an easy entry way for infections and viruses. While traveling this fall season, try to limit touching your face as much as possible. For those who have a habit of touching their face, stay on top of hand washing as much as possible.

Keep Hand Sanitizer On Deck

Hand sanitizer comes in handy when a sink isn’t easily accessible. Small travel size bottles can be tucked away into carry-on bags and attached to keychains. For folks traveling this fall to festivals and events, be sure to keep hand sanitizer handy for using outdoor restroom facilities. 

Consider Vaccinations 

Photo credit: Nataliya Vaitkevich

Vaccinations for many respiratory illnesses will be available this cough and cold season. While vaccines aren’t mandatory, the CDC does recommend all people over the age of 6 months get an influenza vaccine. They also suggest those who are pregnant, adults over age 65 and adults with chronic health conditions to get vaccinated.