Medical Moment: Travel & Family Health

Medical Moment: Travel & Family Health

Telluride Inside… and Out is proud to feature the Telluride Medical Center’s MEDICAL MOMENT, a weekly column that answers common medical questions in pop culture. Have a question for the doctors? Click here to send.


Dr. Paul Koelliker

Dr. Paul Koelliker

Dr. Paul Koelliker answers this week’s question: How can I keep my family healthy when we travel?

Generally, the most common illnesses encountered including, but not limited to gastroenteritis (stomach flu), colds, and influenza are transmitted from person to person.

Travel plans that involve airlines, shuttles, taxis, rental cars, buses, etc. can expose a person to illnesses carried by a number of other people. Some illnesses are contacted via the airborne route (colds, influenza). Airborne infectious particles are inhaled and cause infection.

Taking care to avoid others with a cough, covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and diligent hand washing will help curb the spread of these types of illnesses. Wearing a mask can be helpful if in a small or confined area with someone who is coughing (ideally the sick person traveling would wear a mask).

Other precautions that can be taken include hand sanitizer and antimicrobial wipes. Frequent hand cleaning, avoiding touching face, mouth, nose will lessen the chances of becoming ill.

Practicing this with children can be difficult as they tend to touch whatever they can and put their hands in their mouth. Antibacterial wipes can be used to clean the area on the plane that the child will encounter. You will be surprised at the amount of filth one can wipe off the tray table and armrests of a plane with an antimicrobial wipe. Avoid eating on the plane if at all possible.

Having a vacation ruined by illness is never fun, but is unfortunately a frequent occurrence.  Taking precautions to limit contact with possible infectious particles during travel will decrease the likelihood of falling ill.

If you plan to travel out of the country, talk to your primary care provider well in advance of their travel to see if additional immunizations and/or prophylactic medications are indicated.


Editor’s note: The Telluride Medical Center is the only 24-hour emergency facility within 65 miles.

Dr. Paul Koelliker

Dr. Paul Koelliker

 As a mountain town in a challenging, remote environment, a thriving medical center is vital to our community’s health.

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1 Comment
  • Patty Doerr
    Posted at 07:11h, 09 March

    Paul….I’m sending this onto the Bentfield and Alley Families!!!! Cute pic! Patty and John