Staying healthy in public places

What's Going Around

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Many families plan a trip to the movie theater around the holidays. Maybe you're waiting for Christmas Day to catch the new Star Wars movie.  How to you catch a movie without catching what's going around.

Like any crowded place, movie theaters can be a breeding ground for germs that can make you sick. Doctors say one the easiest ways to prevent illness, may be one of the most simple.

"Wash your hands before you eat. That's one of the biggest things, it's simple you know.  Go wash your hands make sure they're clean before you put any food in your mouth," says Dr. Neha Vyas.   

Family medicine physician Dr. Neha Vyas says elevator buttons, door handles, hand rails, concession stands, faucets, and video games are all places where germs can hide.  She says if you don't have access to a sink to wash your hands, it's a good idea to carry hand sanitizer or hand wipes with you when you know you're going to be in places with a lot of people, like the theater.  While germs are everywhere, they shouldn't stop you from having a good time.

"It's important to know that even if they're there, you can take necessary precautions to avoid getting sick.  It doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to get sick just because you touched those things," says Vyas.

Dr. Vyas also urges folks to pay attention to what's happening around them. If someone near you in the theater is coughing persistently, the best thing you can do is to get up and move.

Here are a few other things you can do to protect you and your family from germs.  Don't place your purse on the floor, where hundreds of feet and sticky spilled drinks have been instead, keep it on your lap or on a nearby seat. Also, remind your kids of the restroom rules. Once they've washed their hands, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open and close the door. Also worth repeating,  wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before eating your popcorn or other snacks at your seat.  Your seat and arm rests have been likely touched by someone less careful than you.

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