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Hitting the Road? Tips for Healthy, Germ-Free Travel

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: A study found that people with a cold who stayed in a hotel room left 35% of the objects in that room covered in germs.
Air Date: 2/4/15
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Lisa & Ron Beres, Certified Green Building Professionals
Ron and Lisa Beres are Certified Green Building Professionals, Building Biologists and published authors of several books including, Just GREEN It! and the children's book, My Body My House. In addition to testing the health of homes, their consulting business includes celebrities and Fortune 500's. They are award winning television media experts and have appeared on The Rachael Ray Show, The Suzanne Show, The Doctors, Fox & Friends, The Today Show with Matt Lauer, NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams, Discovery’s Greenovate and Chelsea Lately on E!
  • Book Title: Just GREEN It! Simple Swaps to Save the Planet + Your Health
  • Guest Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/RonandLisaTheHealthyHomeDreamTeam
  • Guest Twitter Account: @RonandLisa
Hitting the Road? Tips for Healthy, Germ-Free Travel
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STAFF WRITER
When traveling, there are so many things to keep track of. You are constantly reviewing your itinerary and wondering if you forgot to pack something. But how often do you actually stop to think about how your health might be impacted during your trip? Rob and Lisa Beres, published authors and health consultants that have appeared on The Rachel Ray Show, Fox & Friends, and The Today Show (among others), believe there are a few things you need to consider before your next trip.

Protect Yourself Against Hotel Germs

Even the biggest hotels don’t completely overhaul the room each night in preparation for the next guests. Keeping this in mind, don’t expect your hotel room to be 100 percent germ-free. In fact, a study by the University of Virginia found that people sick with a cold that stayed in a hotel room left around 35 percent of objects covered in their germs.

To keep yourself protected, bring your own pillow and blankets if you can. Hotel blankets, mattresses and pillows can contain drool, bodily fluids, dust mites, and dead skin cells. Bringing a small child-sized, certified organic travel pillow is a good idea. You can use it on the plane, and use it to sleep in the hotel room. To keep it away from housekeepers, put it in a drawer or somewhere out of reach. Once you get home, Lisa Beres says it’s as easy as throwing it into the washer and dryer to kill off any dust mites it may have collected.

The Beres also recommend keeping your hands clean without using chemicals. When you travel, the air around you could be circulating germs, pesticides, and even jet fuel around the airport. Hand sanitizers contain at least 60 percent alcohol, a requirement by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in order to be effective. They may not even work as well as you’d think, however. Research by Purdue University showed that hand sanitizers don’t always remove the bacteria living on your hands, and in some cases, may even increase bacteria.

Avoid using toxic hand sanitizers that include synthetic fragrances and harsh chemicals. These chemicals can wreak havoc on your endocrine system. If you need to carry around a hand sanitizer, get one that uses ethanol and does not contain added ingredients.

Or, go old school.

A Kansas State University study found that hand sanitizers today still aren’t as effective as old-fashioned warm soap and water when it comes to eliminating germs. Scrub your hands thoroughly, long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself, and get under the nails and between your fingers.

Bring Your Own: Good for You and the Environment

It’s also a good idea to bring your own personal care products when traveling. Organic wipes meant for children and babies are gentle on your skin, yet work very well. And, get in the habit of bringing your own natural shampoos, lotions and soaps in travel-sized containers. The free toiletries provided to you by hotels may contain added fragrances, toxins, and dangerous chemicals.

The Beres family is a strong believer of the “you are what you eat” mantra. You should avoid airline/airport food as much as possible and opt instead to pack your own food or buy organic, whole foods if available. Many major airports across the globe are updating their selections.

Some examples of portable snacks include apple slices, carrot sticks, nuts, and low-fat protein bars. Not only will you be eating healthier, but you will be helping to reduce the amount of waste produced by airline companies, which generates approximately 425,000 tons each year. This waste includes food, contains, utensils, packaging, and other garbage. Sadly, waste output is expected to increase by a whopping 45 percent in the coming year.

Traveling can be a stressful-yet-rewarding experience if planned properly, and your health is one area that should not be ignored. Whether it’s a business trip or purely recreational, putting your health first and taking a few simple precautions can keep you feeling healthy and strong long after you've returned home.

Tune in to the accompanying audio segment as Ron and Lisa Beres explain how you can travel safely, toxic-free.

Alonso is a long-time health and wellness advocate who loves to write about it. His writing spans the scope of blogs, educational magazines, and books, both on and offline.

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