Plane Bathroom

How to Not Get Sick While Flying

Stay healthy and avoid catching a bug from one of your co‑passengers

You might be worried about that street food you ate while on vacation when actually you should be more concerned about catching something on your flight. According to the Wall Street Journal, you’re 20% more likely to catch a cold flying and with close quarters, shared air, and low cabin humidity. And with the onset of Coronavirus spreading worldwide, it’s important to be extra careful. In order to enjoy your vacation or curb your chances of getting bedridden when you get back, here are some tips to avoid getting sick while flying. 

Plane Safety
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Wipes are your friends

I know it might seem like overkill, but carrying disinfecting wipes and wiping down your backseat tray will go a long way. Germs can stick around for up to nine days. People actually sometimes change diapers on flights using those backseat trays and yes, it leaves behind fecal matter. With short turnaround times, the planes don’t get disinfected between flights, meaning they stay incredibly germy, so it’s up to you, especially if you’re eating off of it… Don’t even think about touching that seatback pocket. There are just as many germs there as the tray but they’re not exactly as easy to wipe down (but go for it). And don’t forget to wipe your phone and laptop regularly too!


Wash your hands and carry travel hand sanitizer

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and use hand sanitizer often. This is your best protection and there’s no telling what you’ve touched. It is also recommended that you avoid touching your face, which can help prevent those pesky germs from getting in through a point of entry, i.e. your eyes, nose, and mouth. 

Photo by Michele Blackwell from Unsplash.

Pre‑Flight Vitamins

Some people swear by bulking up on certain vitamins or other holistic options before a flight to keep your immune system in tip‑top shape. You can take Echinacea, Vitamin C or Zinc before and after you travel as all are believed to help keep your immune system strong. Even black elderberries are thought to help fortify the immune system. Although there is no scientific evidence that a pre‑flight vitamin regime might make a difference, so be sure to consult a medical professional. 


Stay hydrated, but avoid the plane’s tap water options

Drinking a little bit of water throughout your flight will help you stay hydrated to keep your nasal passages from drying out and your mucous membranes in your throat. It’s recommended you drink 8 oz of water for every hour of flight. You can fill a reusable bottle up from a fountain before your flight. But avoid tap water options inflight, meaning no coffee or tea and stick to bottled water. The water that is used to serve flights comes from tanks that are hard to clean and are loaded with bacteria. 


Hot or cold, you can still avoid germs

Planes do get cold and you’ll want to stay warm so that your immune system is in the best shape to fight off those germs. But we’ve all heard the horror stories of people opening up blankets they thought were clean only to see they clearly aren’t. Dress in layers and be sure to pack your own blanket and pillow to avoid other people’s germs and still be comfortable. If you get too hot, you can use those overhead vents to your advantage. Point the vent away from your face (more toward your hands) to keep airborne germs away from you while still staying cool. 

Plane Bathroom
Photo by Toa Heftiba from Unsplash.

Avoid using the airplane bathroom if possible 

Airline bathrooms are incredibly germy with so many people using them in such a short period of time. Try to use the bathroom before or after your flight. If you must, use a paper towel when touching surfaces in the bathroom like the handle, flush, and tap.