Planning a holiday or traveling for business? Are you afraid of catching the flu while on a plane? If so, prepare yourself ahead! Airplanes are full of germs, so it’s important to know how to stay safe. Simple things, such as wearing nose protection, bringing your own food, and using disinfectant wipes, can minimize your chances of getting sick.
Studies have found that colds are 100 times more likely to be transmitted while on a flight than in other circumstances. Three to 20 percent of air passengers report symptoms of cold or flu within one week after traveling by plane. Contrary to popular belief, recirculated air isn’t the culprit behind illness. Getting stuck next to someone who is sick, sitting in the aisle, and touching airplane trays is far riskier.
Use these tricks to avoid getting sick on a plane:
Wear Nose Protection
Many times, colds are triggered by airborne germs. The best way to protect yourself from this threat is wearing nose protection. Wear a nose guard or a face mask to keep germs from entering your system. Use a nasal solution, petroleum jelly, or Neosporin to moisturize your nasal passages. Simply apply them inside the nostrils with a Q-tip.
Don’t Touch the Tray Table
Those who travel a lot keep their tray tables upright for a good reason. Tray tables are among the most dangerous areas of a plane. They’re packed with germs and bacteria, so the risk of catching a flu is much higher. Flight attendants only wash the trays once a day. On top of that, these areas are often used by passengers to change diapers. In case you touch them, use disinfectant wipes.
Stay Away from Airplane Blankets
Airplane pillows and blankets are only washed every five to 30 days, which exposes passengers to high levels of germs and bacteria. If you’re having a long flight, bring your own blanket. Buy a small neck pillow that can easily fit into your hand luggage.
Bring Your Own Food
Airplane food can be contaminated with listeria, flies, ants, cockroaches, and debris. The FDA actually issued a warning on this topic in 2010. Even though heat kills most bacteria, you never know what’s on your plate. Bring your own food and snacks from home to prevent food-borne illnesses. If it’s a short flight, eat before departure or wait until you arrive at your destination.
Boost Your Immune System
Take a multivitamin or other dietary supplements to give your immune system a boost. Vitamin C, echinacea, ginger extract, garlic extract, ginkgo biloba, and other natural products improve your body’s ability to fight germs and infections. Make sure you also have a well-balanced diet in the weeks preceding your flight. Eat healthy before, during, and after traveling.
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands before eating and after using the bathroom facilities on planes is the easiest way to prevent a cold. Viruses and bacteria can survive for hours on your hands, so it’s essential to keep them clean. Rub your hands for 20 seconds or more, apply soap, and use alcohol-based sanitizers.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water while on a plane. This helps prevent dehydration, which is one of the leading causes of migraines, fatigue, cramps, and digestive distress among travelers. Get adequate rest before and after the flight to give your immune system the energy needed for fighting these airborne diseases.