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Germy Flights: Five Tips to Avoid Getting Sick

by Suzy Guese

Nov 5, 2014

© Martinmark | Dreamstime

Tips / Travel

As you board the airplane, you can probably already feel all the germs creeping around bathroom door handles, seat pockets and armrests. One passenger with a cold sneezes and their seat neighbor has a cold next week. Airplanes aren’t always cleaned as they should be with such tight turnarounds. Passengers who don’t want to go home with an illness after their flight have to take matters into their own hands. Before you board, keep these tips in mind to avoid getting sick on a plane.


Wash your hands often

One of the easiest ways to keep all of germs at bay is to wash your hands as often as possible. Viruses can live on armrests, TV remote controls, tray tables and lights for a long time. In essence, if the person on the flight before you was sick, you could pick up their germs. Washing your hands will help fight against these germs and any others you might encounter on the plane.


Drink up (water, that is)

It is all too common to see the drink cart come up the aisle and passengers order alcoholic beverages. While that glass of red wine might sound appealing, it isn’t helping you ward off germs. Air travel is dehydrating, which can weaken your body’s ability to fight off a cold. Rather than selecting alcohol, try to drink water periodically throughout your flight to remain hydrated.


Resist touching airplane surfaces if you don’t have to

The tray table, the seat pocket in front of you or the shade for the window are all crawling with germs. If you don’t have to touch these surfaces, don’t. By not touching the tray table, you eliminate picking up the germs lurking on these surfaces. It is also a good idea to pack your own blanket and pillow. These are often reused from passenger to passenger without being cleaned.


Pack antibacterial wipes and gel

If you do have to touch those airplane surfaces, you might as well give them a good cleaning before you do. Antibacterial wipes are useful for wiping down the tray table or armrest before you settle into your flight. If you have to open up the overhead bin or the laboratory bathroom door, try to use a wipe to grasp these surfaces instead.


Get plenty of rest before your flight

A weakened immune system will make it quite difficult to fend off a germy airplane. Before you take off on your trip, try to get as much rest as possible. Well-rested and healthy, you stand a better chance of avoiding the bugs on board.



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