Banner physician offers video message on avoiding "congestion'' while flying for the holidays
Contact: Jodie Snyder @(602) 448-8459
PHOENIX -- Want to avoid the traditional holiday bug that you always seem to get while travelling?
A Banner Health internal medicine specialist may have just the answer: saline spray.
Frequent use of this simple, over-the-counter drugstore favorite can help prevent germs from getting a foothold in your nose and respiratory system, says Steven Sunderman, MD, an internist at Banner Health Center in Loveland, Colo.
Sunderman recommends having several with you during the winter cold season. Bonus: they can be small enough to carry onboard under TSA liquid-container regulations.
Prevention is especially important when you are flying for the holidays since airport and airplanes are ideal germ-gathering locations.
Airports, always congested during the busy holiday, can increase your risk of colds and other infections since the proximity to more people increases the risk of exposure to germs.
A comprehensive 2002 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found an average of 20 percent of plane passengers surveyed reported respiratory infections within five to seven days of flying.
While another study in the Journal of Environmental Health Research found that colds may be more than 100 times more likely to be transmitted on a plane than during normal daily life on the ground.
“Once those (airplane) doors are closed, those organisms are going to be left floating in the air and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it,’’ Sunderman said.
The dry air and low humidity may dry up sinuses’ delicate mucous membranes and make them more prone for infections. The humidity levels in airborne planes are around 20 percent; the optimal household humidity level is 35 to 40 percent.
Another reason for caution at the airports and planes: Scientists report that the viruses that cause colds and flu can survive for hours on your skin or on objects such as armrests, tray tables and other similar surfaces.
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