Monday, November 28, 2022


Cold and flu season — Keep the bugs at bay


By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Want to spoil the joy of the open road? Just get sick. Nothing slows down a good time like a case of the flu or a really bad cold. But there are a few tricks that’ll reduce your chances of getting sick out on the road.

Influenza and cold viruses spread easily – but in ways that are known. A cough or a sneeze from an infected person kicks out a blast of fine droplets. Often, the reaction of the ill person is to cover their mouth with their hand. Or their nose does the drizzle thing, and they wind up with the germs on their hands. From there, whatever surfaces they touch become transfer stations to pass those same infectious germs off to others.

For RVers, some of those way-stations are places we’re apt to come in contact with.

Fuel pumps: Yep, you pull in to fill up the motorhome or toad car, you grab the filler nozzle, and ZAP! You’ve been had. Diesel users may avoid some of this, as we’re more apt to put on a pair of fueling gloves. Gassers can do the same: Put on a toss-away pair of gloves, fuel up, and leave the gloves on while you punch those payment buttons.

As an alternative, grab the fuel nozzle with a paper towel and pitch it in the trash when you’re done. As a bonus, any residual fuel won’t stink up your hands.

Automatic teller machines: Punch in your PIN code, and your fingertip could easily become the next way-point for germs. Now you rub your eyes, or touch your nose, and BINGO, the bug has you. Yeah, you could use the old throw-away gloves trick. Or, simply use your knuckle to punch the buttons. You’re less likely to rub your eyes or nose with your knuckle, so you’ve reduced your risk.

Public pens: Signing off on a credit card receipt? Sure enough, that’s another lurking point for germ transfer. If somebody wants you to sign something, reach in your pocket or purse and use your own pen. You may get funny looks, but they don’t last near as long as the flu.

Social politeness: There’s a gathering down at the RV park center. It’s only natural to shake hands with those nice folks. But sad to say, they may be bug carriers. Handshakes are considered by some authorities to be the Number One transfer point of germs. You could simply avoid the handshake, perhaps with an explanation. Or once the handshakes are over, step aside and use that little bottle of hand sanitizer. Just be sure to keep your hands away from your face until you’ve done the clean-up deed.

Electronic show-off: Seems like everybody these days has pictures on their cell phone or tablet they want to share. You grab somebody’s e-device to ooh and ahh over the latest grandchild, and Hey, Presto! — you’ve glad-handed your way into a potential illness. Like the handshake follow-up, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer to clean up your patties, and use a “degermizing” wipe if it’s your e-device that’s had the pass-around.

Keep the bugs at bay, and be like the Seven Dwarfs. More Happy – less Sneezy – and no Doc!



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5 years ago

We have found that staying out of crowds helps a lot. We had to do that during Christmas and then went to a dinner at our club house and you guessed it, we both got the flu and it was the worst I have ever experienced. Came down with it 12-22 and it was mid January before got rid of it. I don’t think you can completely get rid of all germs, you just do the best you can. And yes, we both got flu shots back in October.

5 years ago

Don’t forget salt and pepper shakers and such in restaurants.

Sharon Mathie
5 years ago

These are all excellent reminders. Remember to get a flu shot, too!

5 years ago

While keeping your hands washed is a very good idea, boosting your immune system is really where you need to start. No matter where it comes from, I have found that keeping a bottle of anti-diarrheal in the medicine cabinet is a fabulous idea. The one I use is called “Loperamide Hydrochloride 2mg” and I have Wal-Mart’s Equate brand. I start out with two tablets. Usually, that is enough but sometimes I need to take one more tablet.

5 years ago

These are some great ideas but you just can’t protect yourself from enough things like door knobs, or fresh produce in a grocery store. The best one is the hot water knob on a bathroom sink. You turn the faucet on to cleen your hands while your hands are dirty. Then you touch the same knob with your clean Hands to turn the faucet off. Oops, your reinfected. Paper towels help a little but not enough.

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