The Grapevine

Heading To Disneyland? Tips To Avoid Getting Sick

Imagine heading to the happiest place on earth only to have an infection rain on your parade. Quite literally as recent reports suggest that contaminated droplets from a cooling tower at Disneyland may have been responsible for 22 cases in a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in 2017.

While there are many ways you can get sick while visiting the popular theme park, you can follow a number of simple steps to reduce your risk. Here are five of them to bookmark for your next trip.

1. Up-to-date vaccinations

As always, the importance of being up to date on your vaccinations cannot be emphasized enough. Even if you are not traveling abroad, you are likely to be exposed to international travelers at the popular destination. 

You may remember the measles outbreak linked to Disneyland Resort Theme Parks in California a couple of years ago, highly publicized due to poor vaccine rates among the reported cases.

2. Handwashing and attire

You will be touching many shared objects and common surfaces like rails, doors, 3D glasses, etc. So it makes sense that you wash your hands often and use the correct technique to do so. It is also worth carrying around some hand sanitizer for instances when there is no handwashing facility nearby.

Wear loose-fitting clothing and a comfortable pair of shoes as you will be moving around for most of the day. Wearing restrictive attire could contribute to heat exhaustion and induce blisters on your feet, both of which can dampen your plans.

3. Avoiding motion sickness 

"On a roller coaster, use any headrest that’s available to reduce susceptibility," said Thomas A. Stoffregen, a motion sickness expert at the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota. "Close your eyes and keep them closed."

While it seems obvious, remember to avoid consuming anything too processed (i.e. those extra greasy food items or artificially colored drinks) before going on such rides. On the flip side, Stoffregen also warns against riding them on an empty stomach as this can lead to nausea too.

4. Hydration and resting

Though excitement is in the air, make enough room in your Disney schedule for breaks and rest periods. This is especially important if your body is typically not used to so much walking — suddenly performing too much of the activity can increase the risk of exercise-induced vasculitis, which has actually been nicknamed the Disney Rash.

Another tip, not only to prevent the rash but for overall well-being, is to drink enough water.

"Most people don't realize how high their sweat rate is in the heat," said Doug Casa, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. Casa authored a study which examined how even mild dehydration can impair cognitive performance.