Staying Healthy at Disney

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There is nothing more frustrating than arriving at the Happiest Place on Earth, and spending most of your vacation sick in bed.  This has probably happened to most of us at one time or another and is not much fun for anybody.  I know it’s happened to us before and over the years we have learned some things to help us stay healthy and allow us to fully enjoy our trip.

Flu season is upon us and in full swing.  At least one month before your trip, GET YOUR FLU SHOT!  Now…I’ve heard all the excuses why not to get a flu shot.  Heck, I’ve probably used most of them myself.  But that flu shot is going to be your best defense against getting sick.  One year, I got my flu shot about 45 days before our trip.  Since my daughter couldn’t get her shot at the pharmacy and we had to go in to her pediatrician to get it, we didn’t get her shot until about 10 days before we left.  My husband did not get a flu shot that year, nor did his brother or niece who went with us on that trip.  Three days prior to leaving, our niece came down with the flu.  It was just a 24 hour version, but was enough to cause a chain reaction through our group.  Next in line was my daughter, who came down with it the day of our flight.  I can’t begin to tell you how miserable that was.  Three days later, my husband got it.  Three days after that his brother got it and had to spend the entire day in the room.  Then another three days and our daughter got it again (you guessed it…on the return flight home).  I was the only one in the group who didn’t get sick and also the only who got a flu shot more than a month prior.

Another thing to do prior to your trip is to start walking.  If you aren’t used to it, the amount of walking at Disney World is going to be painful.  Also, if you have a pair of new shoes set aside for your trip, break them in!  If you save them for your trip, I guarantee you are going to have blisters.  The walking is going to have two benefits, better endurance and your legs will be in better shape and less likely to have sore muscles during your trip.

Let’s get to the trip itself.  If you are flying, remember that airplanes are a virtual petri dish of germs.  Since taking hand sanitizer on the plane with you is pretty much out these days, get yourself some individual packets of sanitizing wipes.  It doesn’t hurt to wipe down the tray tables and any other hard surfaces around you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen kids making mouth prints on the windows.  Bad for them…bad for the next guy who’s sitting there.   It’s also a good idea to use the wipes after visiting the restroom…even after washing your hands.  If you are driving, the same is true about rest areas, food stops, etc.  Wherever you find lots of people, you will find lots of germs.  While at Disney World, try to keep your hands and your kids’ hands off those hand rails.  I carry hand sanitizer lotion with me at Disney and use it often throughout the day.

Be sure to take at least a minimal supply of over the counter cold meds, pain reliever, bandages and stomach remedies.  If someone gets sick or hurt, you can always buy more, but having some on hand to use immediately is imperative.  Also, remember that there are first aid stations in every park.  If you run out of something they will be happy to assist you with what they have.

When you arrive, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the available medical facilities.  I can tell you from experience, driving around lost for an hour with a sick person in your car is not a good idea.  We used the Centra Care facility on Apopka Vineland one time.  I have no complaints at all about the care we received, however the receptionist could not give us good directions to save her life.  All she could tell us was the address and that it was near Downtown Disney. With so many roads having similar names around that area, you either need GPS or need to have a very good knowledge of where you’re going.

Lastly, let’s talk about nutrition at Disney.  Yes, you are on vacation and it’s not going to kill you to have some special treats while you’re there.  It’s very easy, especially when you’re on the Disney Dining Plan to make a LOT of unhealthy choices.  You know that you have that dessert coming, even though you’re too full to eat it, you’re going to take it anyhow because you can.  It’s also not a good plan to skip meals all day so that you can over-indulge at that big sit down meal in the evening. Eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day.  Try to eat your larger meals earlier in the day so that all that walking gets put to good use working them off. It’s ok to splurge here and there, but drastically changing your eating habits for a week is going to be hard on your system and could cause a lot of stomach problems. Disney has a wealth of healthy but delicious options on site. Overall you will feel a lot better and be less likely to get sick if you take advantage of those healthier options.



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