Protecting yourself from illness when traveling to the “most magical place on Earth” is often a concern we see and hear on message boards. No one wants to spend the amount of money it takes to visit a premiere vacation spot and then come down with the flu at Disney World.
Disney World is a magical place filled with joy and excitement for the whole family. However, it’s essential to be aware of potential health concerns, such as the flu, that can arise during your visit. Coming off of the global pandemic, health and communicable diseases are a big concern for some when planning their Disney vacation, and rightfully so.
There’s one thing for sure regarding visiting Disney World, or any Disney park for that matter: it’s going to be full of people. The Lake Buena Vista area is already massive, filled with travelers and locals alike. However, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios are extremely popular GLOBAL destinations, meaning lots of people from lots of places with lots of germs.
Disease at Disney World
Disney learned a lot regarding public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of their parks, such as Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World, found themselves in the middle of heavily infected countries and states, forcing the company to take extreme measures to ensure they could reopen after mandatory shutdowns.
Although we’re on the tail-end of COVID-19, which is now considered endemic by many, our health and viral infections are a much more considerable option when planning vacations. Disney World, as well as Florida officials such as Gov Ron DeSantis, are aware of this and have devoted precious dollars to ensuring efficient cleanings and sterilization.
Despite exhaustive efforts by companies across the United States, public health officials and clinicians can’t control all exposures. This is the case at Walt Disney World; hence, the COVID warnings are still prevalent on their websites.
Flu at Disney World
Although COVID isn’t as much of a concern as it was a couple of years ago for those who do not possess at-risk comorbidities, endemic viral seasons still exist in the state of Florida, and one, in particular, is having a nasty impact on guests.
Coming off of a notoriously hot summer, the fall and winter have seen fluctuating temperatures in the state of Florida. With those massive swings come breeds of microorganisms that can often cause disease.
As per one Reddit user, flu, although endemic, is having a massive impact on guests visiting Walt Disney World currently. User @u/Viola424242 noted that after visiting Disney’s urgent care, she was told my her physician that “influenza is rampant at Walt Disney World right now.”
According to the CDC, the United States is just coming into its 2023 endemic flu season, which runs through February, and it seems like travelers to the House of Mouse in Central Florida aren’t immune.
Why Flu is Serious
Most people consider influenza comparative to a common cold. Although for some, it is. For others, the flu can be extremely detrimental to their overall health. History has shown us that flu, especially new strands of the virus that causes influenza, can have massive health concern implications for the general public.
Although disease control is almost unavoidable in a place like Walt Disney World Resort, which is an acceptable fact, some who are at high risk of complications caused by the flu may need more than an aid station to deal with the stress and rigor that viral infections can place on the body.
Although flu vaccines are always a great idea, they don’t always protect from various strands of the infection-causing agent. As well, combined with other serious medical concerns like RSV infection or COVID, the flu, which is already a massive killer in other parts of the world, can present a significant risk to populations, even in the United States, where healthcare and medical technology are much more advanced.
As the flu typically represents a respiratory illness, complete with fever, vomiting, and body aches, its complications can be rather serious for some, so how do you protect yourself?
Protecting Yourself from the Flu at Disney World
1. Understanding the Flu:
The flu, also known as influenza, is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can spread through coughing, sneezing, or close contact with infected individuals. Symptoms of the flu include fever, body aches, cough, sore throat, fatigue, and headache. While most people recover from the flu within a week or two, it can lead to severe complications, especially in young children, the elderly, and those with certain medical conditions.
2. Flu Season and Disney World:
Flu season typically occurs during the fall and winter months, coinciding with the peak times for Disney World visits. The large crowds and close interactions with other guests and park employees increase the likelihood of flu transmission. Moreover, visitors come from various parts of the globe, potentially bringing different strains of the virus. Therefore, it’s crucial to take preventive measures to minimize the risk of flu infection.
3. Tips for Preventing the Flu:
A) Get vaccinated: The most effective way to protect yourself and your family from the flu is to get vaccinated before your trip. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over six months old and is readily available at healthcare providers, pharmacies, and urgent care centers. Plan ahead and schedule your vaccination at least two weeks before your Disney World vacation to allow sufficient time for immunity to develop.
B) Practice good hygiene: Encourage regular hand hygiene among your family members, especially after touching surfaces commonly touched by others. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. Avoid touching your face, particularly your nose, mouth, and eyes, as this can facilitate virus entry into your body.
C) Cover your coughs and sneezes: Teach your family members to cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or their elbow to prevent respiratory droplets from spreading. Dispose of used tissues properly and wash hands afterward.
D) Avoid close contact with sick individuals: If you notice someone showing flu-like symptoms, maintain a safe distance. The flu virus can travel through the air and infect others in close proximity. If necessary, inform a park employee or visit a First Aid station for assistance.
4. Recognizing Flu Symptoms:
It’s essential to be able to recognize the early signs of flu in yourself or your family members. If anyone experiences symptoms such as fever, body aches, cough, or sore throat, it’s crucial to seek medical attention. Centra Care urgent care centers, located near Disney World, provide medical assistance for visitors and are well-equipped to handle flu cases.
By taking proactive steps to prevent the flu, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Disney World for your family. Vaccination, good hygiene practices, and early recognition of flu symptoms are key to minimizing the risk of infection. Remember, it’s better to be prepared and take precautions than to let the flu dampen the magic of your Disney vacation. Stay healthy, have fun, and create memories that will last a lifetime!
Not only is protecting yourself a great concern when it comes to any illness, but ensuring the safety and security of others visiting Walt Disney World is also an important consideration.
When traveling to Disney World and feeling ill, it is always a good idea to check in at one of the care centers available in each park. As well, if you’re concerned regarding flu or any other public health threats, discuss your concerns with your local doctor or public health office prior to traveling.