Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Staying Healthy on Your Disney Vacation

By: Melissa

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, or advise for any medical condition, is not a substitute for the advice of your doctor, and does NOT guarantee an illness-free trip. I’m just a mom, telling you what’s worked for me and what I plan to do.

We’ve all heard the stories. Someone goes on vacation, only to end up miserably ill and unable to enjoy the festivities with the rest of the family. Or even worse, everyone takes turns being violently ill. If there’s anything worse than being sick on vacation, it’s being sick in a hotel room on vacation.

When we were planning our first trip to Disney, I had nightmares about one (or all) of us getting sick on our trip. And while there are many things that can’t be avoided, there were things I could do to help make sure we had our best chance to stay well during our trip. Here are some things I did, and will do next time.

1. Start before the trip. Starting a couple of weeks before our trip, I was careful about our exposure to germs. We didn’t hibernate by any means, but we were a little more careful than we normally would’ve been. I also spoke to our pediatrician about giving my kids vitamin D3 and vitamin C in dosages proper for their age/weight to boost their immune system. (We utilize vitamin D3 and vitamin C on a regular basis, but our doctor was able to give us more exact doses for that purpose.) I also made sure we were all eating as healthy as we could, drinking enough water, and getting enough rest.

2. Don’t quit just because you start your trip. Travel can be hard on the immune system. We tried to make sure we were still taking our vitamins, drinking enough water, and getting enough rest. (Not that you can get enough rest at Disney!) If you need to set a reminder on your phone so everyone takes their vitamins (or whatever), do it!

We also tried to choose healthier food options when we had the chance. Yes, we might have to stop at fast food places on the trip, but many offer fruit as sides (for adults and kids), and “better” menu options. If you have a dining plan at Disney, it’s really tempting to indulge way more than you should – or you’re used to. We tried to make at least one “better” menu choice at each meal, even if it was just drinking water instead of a Coke. Most of the kids’ meals offer fruit or yogurt as a side, and our kids enjoyed those options at almost every meal. Not only did that help us cut down on junky food, it was food our tummies were a little more familiar with. Don’t forget that you will likely have a mini fridge in your room if you’d like to stock it with bottled water or healthy snacks.

3. Remember to pack stay-healthy necessities. I took along our vitamins and a few other things I thought would help in case someone started feeling icky.  Yes, there are pharmacies nearby, and I knew most resort gift shops would have a few offerings, but I didn’t want to have to go on a quest to find something if someone started feeling bad, especially if it was minor. So I took a few of our favorite go-to items, knowing I could find other things if I needed them.

4. Wash, wash, wash your hands. Using plain old soap and water is one of the best ways to combat germs. Don’t forget to do it! Bar soap is not our favorite for hand washing, so we took along a pump bottle of hand soap for our room.

5. Hand sanitizer. Use it. While not a substitute for good old fashioned hand washing, most of us with small children would’ve done well to buy stock in hand sanitizer before our little blessings arrived. Ours is mostly utilized when we’re out and about…and have touched everything in sight, contaminated with every germ imaginable. I took along a few small bottles to carry with us, and a larger bottle to keep in the room to refill the little ones. I also took some individually packaged sanitizing wipes to use on tables, high chairs, etc. when we sat down to eat. Nothing against the cleanliness of Disney (it’s impeccable!), but when I know there’s a chance my 2 year-old might lick the table, I’d rather clean it myself first.

6. Disinfecting wipes. This is where you might think I’m a little crazy. But my husband travels a lot for work, and we’ve all seen that episode of 20/20 or Dateline, or whatever show last exposed all the icky things left behind in hotel rooms.

The first thing we do when we check into a hotel room, especially with the kids, is clean. Again, nothing against the housekeeping staff, but you can’t see germs with the naked eye. And if my kids are going to be touching everything (and, let’s be honest, put their mouths on something), I’d rather be certain it has been recently cleaned to my satisfaction. So, my husband keeps the kids busy while I attack every surface I possibly can with disinfecting wipes. (Counter tops/flat surfaces, door handles, light switches, chair arms, remote control, telephone, alarm clock buttons, lamp switches, bathroom fixtures, etc. Basically, if it’s not fabric, I wipe it down. Except for the floor. I have to draw the line somewhere.) After all, you never know if the person who occupied the room before you had their vacation ruined by a nasty virus and might’ve unknowingly left a little behind. I also try to grab the wipes again mid-trip and clean things up again. Trekking through the parks brings lots of dirt and germs back with you. I know the housekeeping staff does a great job; I just want a little extra assurance.

Other places to think about cleaning with disinfecting wipes: stroller handles, stroller tray/cup holder, and bag handles.

Those are some basic things we do to help make sure our trips are illness free. Do you have any other tips?

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