There was a big stretch in our family when it seemed like every Disney trip ended with all of us coming down with a nasty cold.
Once we even had to have a doctor make a house call to our Disney resort because we were certain our son had strep throat. He did not, thankfully, but it was an expensive endeavor to find that out and our insurance did not cover it.
Was getting sick every vacation just part of the deal? Were we OK with that? No, we were not!
We really had to evaluate what we were doing wrong as a family. Using hand sanitizer dozens of times throughout the day just wasn’t doing the trick.
After talking to our pediatrician, teachers and paying attention to how the flu transmits in daily life, we added a militant hand-washing regiment on our Disney vacation. So far, it has worked really well.
Here’s the simple advice we follow.
Step One – The Plane
If you are flying, it all starts here. First, use the airport restroom before you board and wash your hands really well. Try to avoid the on-plane restroom if you can.
Second, bring along antibacterial wipes and clean the following surfaces: the armrests, the seatbelt, the tray table (and the seating area it touches when folded up), the buttons above your head, and the built-in video touch screen.
Three, if there is a cougher near you, turn on the overhead air vents and point them to blow the coughers’ air AWAY from you.
Step Two – The Parks
At the parks, rely on hand washing over hand sanitizer. Make a point of washing your hands whenever you happen upon a bathroom. Attractions have lots of handrails and grab bars, and you won’t be able to avoid touching them every time. Get into a habit of washing hands after every two attractions, and always wash hands before eating.
Bring some anti-bacterial wipes to quickly wipe off the tables you encounter at quick-service restaurants. Even if a table looks clean, wipe it down just in case. (It’s gross, but more than once we’ve seen parents use restaurant tables as changing tables. Ugh!)
Step Three –The Resorts
A great perk to staying on Disney property is the high-quality housekeeping service you will receive. Disney gets high marks for keeping rooms sanitized and dust-free. If you notice anything subpar, call right away and you’ll likely get it fixed in minutes.
As an extra precaution, you can give the doorknobs, phone and remote control a quick swipe with an antibacterial wipe. And whenever you return to your room, always do a handwash before you start touching stuff.
In the end, it’s a Mary Poppins sense of practicality that will keep you the safest. Push doors open with your shoulder instead of your hand, cough or sneeze into your elbow, drink lots of water, and get a good night’s sleep. Too much alcohol and stress can wear out your immune system. If you do touch something in a high-traffic area, avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes until you have the chance to wash up again.
It may add an extra 15 minutes to your Disney day, but a frequent handwashing routine is well worth the effort.
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