(WASHINGTON) — Millions of people will hit the roads, rail and sky over the remainder of the holiday season, and tagging along with them will be hordes of germs ready to spread to the traveling masses.
Despite being surrounded by bacteria and viruses in stores, airports and other public places, there are a few simple ways to minimize the risk of catching a disease, such as the cold and the flu, which could zap the happy out of the holidays.
“You don’t want to be a hermit, and you want to enjoy the holidays, but try to use some common sense principles to avoid getting sick,” said Dr. Lisa Bernstein, associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.
“Even though it’s December, it’s not too late to get a flu shot. Flu season goes through early spring,” said Bernstein.
“This is the prime time for influenza,” said Dr. Laurence Gardner, professor of medicine and executive dean for clinical affairs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “When people are in enclosed spaces in cold environments, the passage of viruses — especially the flu virus — is much greater than in wide open spaces in the summer.”
Dr. Michael Perskin, assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, suggests getting vaccinated against other disease, such as whooping cough, or pertussis.
Although it may seem inconvenient to worry about flu shots on top of everything else, the alternative could be a lot worse.
“It would be an enormous waste of time if, because of not getting vaccinated, someone spent five days in bed with a fever and just felt crummy,” Gardner said.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Jennifer Graham, Deseret News