San Diego Doctor Offers Healthy Holiday Travel Tips
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Traveler's health website has information for people planning to travel outside the U.S.
Nearly 600,000 Southern Californians are expected to fly somewhere between Wednesday and Jan. 3, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.
Some of those people may be traveling while ill, potentially exposing everyone around them.
Dr. Kathlyn Ignacio, an internal medicine physician with the Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, said people face a higher likelihood of being exposed to illness when they travel during the holidays because people will travel even if they are sick.
"The easiest way to infect someone when you're traveling is coughing and sneezing in someone else's face," Ignacio said. "If you're coughing, sneezing and touching objects in a very crowded area like an airport you can easily transmit viruses on inanimate objects."
Organisms from upper respiratory infections cannot live on inanimate objects for more than a few hours. However, Ignacio said it's possible for illness to spread when people are in places like airports, where they touch the same objects in quick succession.
Ignacio recommends washing your hands to prevent the spread of infection. But she also said people should consider changing their habits, like not touching their face after shaking hands with someone.
"If somebody happens to be sick and sitting near you, you just have to try to not inhale their particles if they cough or sneeze," Ignacio said. "Turn away, get up out of your seat, take a walk, wash your hands then and there."