Will it fly?

Question: A friend recently told me that she never travels without a can of Lysol because she does not think that hotels do a thorough job of disinfecting after each guest. Then I began to wonder: Can you take a can of Lysol in your suitcase? If not, what can she do?

Susan Hasegawa

West Covina

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Answer: Alas, your friend's Lysol won't be leaving on a jet plane, even if it's the Disinfectant Spray to Go, "available in a compact 1-ounce travel size," the company's website ( www.lysol.com) says. You can travel with it, just not on an airplane.

"Lysol is a flammable aerosol and therefore cannot be brought onto a commercial aircraft by passengers or crew," Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, wrote in an e-mail.

So the options are these: Buy a can when you get there (and leave it behind if you're flying home) or take the disinfecting wipes instead of the aerosol.

But is it really necessary? At first I thought Hasegawa's friend was a little fussy. Then I read a 2007 University of Virginia report on how some cold germs lived on hotel room surfaces for up to a day. I also watched a TV report about drinking glasses that hotel housekeepers wiped down using less than hygienic methods.

Then I got squeamish and called for backup.

"I can't deny the 'ick' factor," says Dr. Charles Ericsson, director of the travel medicine clinic at the University of Texas medical school at Houston, who adds he'll be using only the individually packaged plastic drinking cups in hotels.

But should you charge in with a flamethrower full of disinfectant?

"I don't think you are at absolutely no risk, but a lot of these things are overplayed," Ericsson says.

Dr. Michael Zimring, author of "Healthy Travel" and director of the center for wilderness and travel medicine at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, thinks the keys to staying healthy on the road are simple. "Keep hydrated, get plenty of sleep and wash your hands," he says.

So spray before you stay -- yea or nay?

Both doctors concur it probably can't hurt and may give you peace of mind.

And what traveler couldn't use a little more of that?

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Have a travel dilemma? Write to travel@latimes.com.

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