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A traveler's guide to keeping germs at bay on airplane

A frequent traveler describes his germ-prevention efforts when in flight

Catharine Hamm's column had many helpful suggestions ["Make Sure Germs Don't Hitch a Ride," On the Spot, March 8].

I travel well over 100,000 miles annually and used to get sick often during my travels. I finally decided to do what I could within reason to reduce this.

I wipe down the seat, seat belt and other high-touch areas with medical-grade sanitizing wipes that kill viruses and bacteria (most so-called sanitizing wipes kill only bacteria). I try to do this in hotels as well: light switches, faucet handles, door knobs, etc.

I always travel with George Eby's zinc lozenges and Quick Defense capsules (recommended by my doctor). If I am next to someone sick or feel even the hint of a tickle in my throat, I start the zinc lozenges and take them continuously for a few days. I take the Quick Defense every three to four hours for three days.

As for the sanitizing wipes, I usually buy them on Amazon or other online retailers.

Randall Gellens

San Diego


Thank you for the column on traveling germs.

On a trip from London to L.A., I was seated next to a very tiny woman. She sat cross-legged for much of the flight, and her foot next to my thigh and the armrest was as dirty as I'd seen in a long time (as a mother of boys and a nurse), and she coughed often. I washed hands as often as I could, but a couple of days later I was hospitalized and then spent the next three weeks in bed with pneumonia.

Travel is really a hazard, even with sanitizers.

Thanks for a great column.

Audray Johnson



The dream of the Brando

I read with interest the March 8 letter regarding the expense of Marlon Brando's island in French Polynesia ["Brando's Eden," March 1].

I built the Brando. Marlon Brando was my friend and we worked together for many years on the vision that became the Brando.

Marlon's love affair with this beautiful atoll led him to become an environmentalist. But as owner of the atoll he also discovered the challenges of achieving sustainability. On a remote island such as Tetiaroa, how does one manage water, energy, trash and wastewater? How do we get rid of insects and other pests? How can we save the ground nesting birds, replenish the over-fished lagoon and protect the sea-turtles from illegal poaching?

True, the Brando is not an inexpensive place to visit. But environmental protection and sustainability take funding. And for the discerning traveler, the astonishing natural beauty and disarming sincerity and authenticity of the Polynesian people offer a value proposition that is difficult to match anywhere in the world. And since the Brando is priced as an all-inclusive package, it actually compares favorably with the luxury resorts in Bora Bora and elsewhere in French Polynesia.

Richard Bailey

Tetiaroa, French Polynesia


Airline's good sense

I can well understand your reader's admiration for Qantas' help and customer service, which I believe is unequaled ["Kudos to Qantas," Letters, March 1].

It was a privilege to work for this airline, and I want to give one example of its consideration: Because many people think the airline is spelled Q-U-A-N-T-A-S, the airline even had an incorrect spelling in the phone book, referring potential customers to the correct listing.

Friendly and good business sense, since Pan Am was much easier to spell.

Kurt Sipolski

Palm Desert

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