My husband, son and I are anxious for our Walt Disney World trip the end of this month. Our almost-3-year-old son is excited to go to “Mickey’s house,” as he calls it. This visit will be his first time at Disney, so that makes it extra magical.
What am I not looking forward to? The increased exposure of germs and illnesses that comes with huge crowds. I’m not going to let that worry ruin our trip, but I am certainly taking precautions. We take multivitamins and have recently added elderberry supplements. We eat a healthy variety of grains, fruits and vegetables — although my son would rather eat a lot of fruits than vegetables. I ordered Clorox hydrogen peroxide wipes to disinfect surfaces on the plane and in the hotel room. And we will constantly wash our hands with warm water and soap throughout the day at the parks.
In a Jan. 29 NPR article titled “Worried About Catching the New Coronavirus? In the U.S., Flu Is a Bigger Threat,” Brandon Brown, epidemiologist, said one of the best things to do to protect against viruses is to wash your hands.
“Our hands are one of the main ways we can transmit a virus,” Brown said. “We shake other people’s hands, (and) we touch surfaces, open doors.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends lathering up and washing for at least 20 seconds. If you sing “Happy Birthday” twice, that is about the correct duration.
If you don’t have immediate access to water and soap, using at least a 60-percent alcohol-based hand sanitizer until you can wash your hands will help.
“Hand-washing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick,” the CDC states on its website article titled “When and how to wash your hands.”
Although there may be a chance one, two or all of us could get sick at Disney, one thing I am not concerned about is the new coronavirus.
“If you live in the U.S., your risk of contracting the new strain of coronavirus identified in China is exceedingly low,” NPR reports. “So far, the only people infected in the U.S. have traveled to the region in China where the virus first turned up in people. And though that could change, one thing is for certain: Another severe respiratory virus that threatens lives — the influenza or ‘flu’ virus — is very active in the U.S. right now.”
As of Jan. 30, that did change. In Chicago, Ill., the first case of person-to-person contact was confirmed. The virus was spread from a wife, who had traveled in China, to her husband.
However, in the United States alone, Brown related the flu kills between 12,000 and 61,000 people each year.
“Last year, we had 34,000 deaths from flu,” Brown said.
The greatest way to protect yourself from getting the flu is the flu shot, and it’s not too late in the season to receive yours, the NPR article encouraged.
These harsh, cold winter months can be brutal sometimes. My family is looking forward to some warmer weather, in addition to all the magical Disney fun we’ll have. And hey — on Feb. 2, Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring! That is certainly something to hope comes true.