Let’s face it, our children are good at finding germs, and this can be an issue when we travel. Travelling exposes us to more new bacteria and in greater volume, as we share cramped spaces with our fellow travellers in aeroplane cabins, breathing each other’s air and sharing tiny bathrooms. Therefore, effective hygiene habits are at their most important when we’re farthest from home.
So, before you head out to buy hand sanitiser and call it a day, read on as we look at more ways you can limit your family’s exposure to germs while travelling.
Protection from germs begins long before you step on the plane. Before you travel, it’s wise to check that you are up to date with all necessary immunisations and vaccinations, not just where you live but where you’re going. Often, other areas of the world are vulnerable to certain illnesses we don’t need to worry about in our home countries. In some cases, a record of certain vaccinations is a prerequisite on a visa application.
Of course, keep your immune system strong with regular vitamin C supplements or perhaps just a good old-fashioned daily orange.
Sleep and water are your most powerful weapons against the effects of germs. This is common knowledge, but it’s easy to lose track of these cornerstones of self-care when travelling. Disruptions to our children’s normal eating routines, coupled with long days of sightseeing and activities, can weaken their immune systems at a time when they are at their most exposed. No matter how much you may want to pack the experiences into your schedule, leave time during the day to stop and hydrate, and time enough at night to get adequate rest. It pays off in the long run.
Don’t leave home without an effective, non-toxic sanitiser, and not just for your hands! An alcohol-free hand sanitiser spray is a safe choice for children, particularly during air travel, when we are more than 100 times more likely to contract the common cold. Consider using your sanitiser to wipe down your armrests, seat belt buckle, and tray table, and take it with you to the restroom if you can’t wait.
Alcohol-based hand sanitisers can often be very strong, as the high alcohol-content can dry out your skin and cause cracks. Your children’s gentle skin will be more vulnerable to this, so make sure to keep this in mind when picking the best hand sanitisers for your family.
Your exposure to harmful germs increases exponentially the more shared items you use, and the more pairs of hands items pass through on their way to your own. This includes cups and straws, as well as your aeroplane pillow and blanket, which may not be as fresh as you think. Consider bringing your own water bottle, a reusable straw, and a blanket and pillow for the flight.
Disruptions to their routine and a surplus of exciting new sights and sounds can affect your children’s behaviour, causing them to fall out of habits you perhaps thought had taken hold. Remember to communicate hygiene habits consistently and patiently, so that your little ones can learn and enjoy themselves in equal measure.