Getting on an airplane might be fun if you’re looking forward to a vacation but for some, the experience can be daunting. Airplanes are hotbeds for germs. There’s a pretty good chance some of the travelers next to you are flying sick because a survey conducted by MattressFirm of over 2,500 travelers found that 75 percent said they wouldn’t cancel a nonrefundable flight if they came down with a cold or flu.
According to Michelle Barron, M.D. of UCHealth infectious disease expert, planes, trains, and automobiles are the mainstay for travel during the holidays and are also the perfect breeding ground for illness. That’s because viruses that cause the flu and colds can live on surfaces for minutes to hours, and bacteria—which can cause things like skin and gastrointestinal infections—can live for days to weeks. Then, if you touch one of the contaminated surfaces and then your mouth or eyes, for instance, you can introduce the bugs into your own body and get sick, too.
Here are five ways to avoid getting sick while flying to your next vacay:
- Don’t touch the tray table: The tray table is one of the dirtiest parts of a plane. Flight attendants have admitted to only washing tray tables once a day, and some have even seen parents changing their children’s dirty diapers on them. So if you are going to use it to eat, please wipe it down with a disinfectant as soon as you sit down.
- Try not to touch anything with your bare hands in the bathroom: Make sure to use a tissue to open the door, and close the lid of the toilet when flushing to avoid the increased spreading of germs. Also try to use sanitizer to clean your hands instead, since the same water in the airplane tanks is used in the restroom.
- Stay hydrated: Drink lots of water to counteract the dry air in airplane cabins. Staying hydrated will help prevent dehydration, which can cause headaches, cramps, and fatigue.
- Avoid the aisle seat: The aisle seat will put you in close proximity to people walking down the aisle from the bathroom.
- Be health conscious before your travels: Of course, it matters to also take precautionary steps to bolster your immune system before the trip. This means loading up on antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, getting sufficient sleep and exercise, and managing your stress levels
If there are any tips we didn’t include, please leave us a comment! We love to hear from our audience.