We have all been there… you’ve waited and planned that perfect trip for months and the one thing you didn’t see coming was the dreaded stomach bug or a nasty virus. Here are some easy tips and tricks to protect your family the next time you travel.
I can personally say from experience that there is nothing that ruins a Disney trip like spending the night in the hospital being violently sick. There is a running joke in my family that I just need one more hole on my punch card to get a wing named after me at Celebration Hospital.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to sanitize frequently, especially before meals and after rides. Just think about how many people have touched that finger scanner, Dumbo joystick, or touchscreen before you.
The first time I came down with a stomach virus in Disney was after touching one of the FastPass kiosk screens in the park. Then I went and ate popcorn with my hands. That was all it took to knock me out.
I was taken by ambulance out of Be Our Guest restaurant a few hours later with a 105.7 fever. We spent the entire night in the ER while they put me through various scans to make sure nothing else more sinister was happening.
The next day, both my parents woke up with it. It ruined the rest of the trip for the entire family.
After my second case of Norovirus in a year at Disney, I started doing research on how to better protect myself and my family from illness. I couldn’t understand why I had contracted another stomach bug after using Purell religiously.
I found out that regular hand sanitizers are completely ineffective against powerful viruses like stomach flu. After a LOT of searching, I discovered a hand sanitizer called Zylast.
You can purchase this product through their direct website and put it in a small travel size sanitizer bottle that clips to your backpack. This hand sanitizer is amazing and continues to combat germs for up to six hours.
Remember, no sanitizer is a complete substitute for regular hand washing though. Washing your hands frequently is your first defense to protect yourself from harmful germs and viruses and is crucial.
I find that Zylast is far more effective than basic sanitizers. It has been a total game-changer for me, not only on vacations but in everyday use.
The other products I swear by are Clorox Healthcare Hydrogen Peroxide wipes and spray. When I get on a plane, I wipe down everything (seatbelt, armrest, tray table, headrest, etc.)
Once I arrive at the hotel, I put on vinyl gloves and pull out the wipes/spray and sanitize all door/cabinet/sink/shower/toilet handles, phone, hairdryer handle, iron and we put the remote inside a Ziploc bag. You just never know who was in that room before you and if they had something you don’t want to catch.
The spray is the most effective product, killing most dangerous viruses within 1 minute. The wipes take about 3 minutes but are still very effective. As someone with a weak immune system, I also pack vinyl gloves in my park backpack and pull them out on rides where I may be touching something such as a lap bar, handle, trigger, joystick, etc.
This method completely eliminates any contact between myself and the germs living on those surfaces. Since having discovered Zylast and the Clorox wipes nearly five years ago, neither myself nor anyone in my family has come down with the stomach flu in Disney again.
Now, when it comes to getting nasty colds on my trips, the downfall for me has always been the airplane. I continuously strive to look for new ways to stay healthy when flying.
I always use a combination of Afrin and saline spray in my nose during the flight. The Afrin opens the sinuses which help the ears to adjust to the pressure changes, and if you are like me with very sensitive ears you can also try Earplanes.
They are small earplugs you wear when flying that help your ears balance pressure better when airborne. The saline spray helps to keep your nasal passages moist so that germs and bacteria can’t enter into dry cracks.
It is also important to drink plenty of water during your flight and avoid drinks that dehydrate you such as alcohol, sodas, and coffee. Keeping your airways moist is very important when flying.
In addition to drinking water, one product that has been a total game-changer for me when flying is the Humidiflyer.
This is a face mask that filters the air you breathe in and recycles the moisture in your breath to keep your airways from drying out. It has also been proven to help with jetlag on long flights. As an opera singer, this was perfect for me to keep my vocal chords from drying out and also for the first time ever after using it, I didn’t come back home from my Disney vacation sick.
The product was super easy to order. The company is based in Australia (with warehouses in PA and CA) so they will advertise it in Australian dollars. The US dollar equivalent will be less so check for currency conversions to get an exact figure. Also, check with your credit card company to see if they have a currency conversion fee. I know my local bank had one but Chase did not, so I purchased it on that card.
Disney vacations are far too expensive to miss out on an entire trip due to sickness. You can’t prevent every illness, but you can give yourself your best chance to avoid it by being prepared. I hope these ideas will be useful for your family wherever your travels may take you. Stay healthy friends!
Note: These products are my personal recommendations. I’m not compensated by them and I’m not a medical professional.