Staying Healthy While Flying

Cold and flu season is rapidly approaching as is the holiday season which for many people means air travel. Germs do not mix nicely with flying the friendly skies. The question becomes, “How can you stay healthy while flying during cold and flu season?”

You might be surprised to learn that with the help of air filters which work to reduce the amount of bacteria and viruses in the air, there are not as many germs on your flight as you might expect. Unfortunately though, even with the air filters, airplanes are not germ free and neither are the passengers on the flight.

Below are some easy tips to help you to fly healthy.

A cold virus can live on an object for quite awhile so when you’re on a plane realize how frequently you are touching things that numerous other people have touched as well.

  • *When you are walking down the plane aisle to your seat try to keep your hands to yourself. Many people have a habit of steadying themselves by placing a hand on the seat backs as they make their way to their seat. Avoid doing this and you’ll be avoiding a number of germs as well.
  • *When you get to your seat use hand sanitizer to kill any germs or bacteria you may have touched as you boarded the plane and found your seat. Even touching the seat cushions with your hands could put you in contact with germs.
  • *If you need to use the bathroom on the plane, use a paper towel to touch the doorknob rather than using your hand. Just as in a regular bathroom this will help prevent you from touching other people’s germs.
  • *Any opportunity you have to avoid touching things on the plane that are repeatedly handled by other people will help to prevent you from getting sick.
  • *Carry some alcohol-based hand wipes with you and wipe down the arms of the seat as well as the try in front of you. These are areas that may or may not be cleaned well between flights.

Even if you don’t touch anything on the plane you might still be at risk for catching a cold or flu bug if you’re sitting near another passenger who is sick. Changing seats is the best option. You will want to be at least three seats away, in any direction, from the sick person. However, changing seats is not usually a luxury we have, especially during holiday travel times. Assuming that you will not be able to change seats on the airplane, you should prepare in advance for the possibility of sitting near a sick passenger.

  • *Before traveling get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated. Research shows that people who are sleep deprived are more likely to get infections than those with adequate sleep. Drinking plenty of water will help your body to be hydrated and fight off germs.
  • *Boost your immune system by taking supplements such as vitamin C in the days before you travel.
  • *Use a saline spray to help keep your nose moist and more resistant to infection.
  • *A Neti pot can be used after the flight to rinse your nose clearing it of infections and pollens from the plane.

If you are traveling on a long flight consider bringing your own supplies such as a pillow, blanket and headphones. All of these things can carry germs and it is healthier if you use your own from home.

After your flight be sure to practice basic hand hygiene and wash your hands diligently with soap and hot water.

 

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