The chances of getting sick on a plane are high (especially during cold and flu season) because you are in close contact with fellow travelers and exposed to surfaces that may not be properly sanitized. Additionally, air cabins tend to have low humidity levels which dry mucus from our noses and throats – creating an environment for germs and viruses to thrive.
Although these flying conditions are often beyond our control, there are measures that can be taken to lessen our exposure to germs and decrease our chances of getting sick. Here are a few:
- Get enough sleep before your flight- This will provide your immune system with a much-needed boost.
- Stay hydrated- Keeping your body hydrated before and during your flight will prevent mucus from drying out.
- Keep your hands clean by frequently washing them with soap and water or using a sanitizer- Doing so will limit exposure to germs (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that handwashing can prevent up to 21% of respiratory infections).
- Use sanitizing wipes on surfaces you will touch- It is highly recommended that you wipe down tray tables, bathroom flush buttons, overhead air vents, seatbelt buckles and seat pockets. These areas are touched by millions of people and are perfect environments for germs to live.
- Keep air vents on- HEPA filters used on planes are effective at removing bacteria and airborne viruses.
- Wear a mask, especially if you are sitting next to someone who is constantly coughing or displaying other symptoms of a respiratory infection.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth – If you need to do so, make sure your hands are clean. Your eyes, nose and mouth serve as points of entry for germs.
It is important to remember germs and viruses can live for hours on certain surfaces. In fact, the flu virus can live up to 24 hours on any hard surface. Therefore, it is important that you follow the given precautions to protect your health and prevent the spread of germs and viruses.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.