Avoid Getting Sick On An Airplane

We are headed to Florida soon and there has been a scare of the Coronavirus in a few airports in the US.  This has made me pretty nervous about flying and I decided to research what I can do to avoid getting sick or try to protect myself.  These will also apply to any cold, flu or other contagion than can be transmitted while you’re flying. The first thing I found is that 1 out of 5 passengers will get sick after a flight. AHHH!  This is what else I found……

The Week / Days Before:

Take Your Vitamins: Obviously everyone knows about taking vitamin C to help avoid getting sick, but you can also take Zinc and vitamin D. These are all known for boosting your immune system. I have been taking a multi-vitamin, in addition to the ones I listed above but do take an additional vitamin C each day for the 7 days before my flight. I usually take 1 in the morning and 1 at night so I don’t absorb too much vitamin C at one time.

Stay Hydrated: According to some studies, flying can cause dehydration, which can lead to headaches, stomach problems, cramps, fatigue, and more. Drinking plenty of water can help avoid this. Of course you’d want to do this in your daily life but you will feel the effects of dehydration more quickly on an airplane becasue of the exceedingly dry air. Get Plenty Of Rest: Lack of sleep can effect your immune system and since you’re about to enter a germ box, you want to have the strongest line of defense possible. Getting plenty of sleep before your flight is one of the best things you can do to make sure your immune system is at its best.

Day Of Flight:

Choose The Right Seat: If you can reduce your exposure to people, you can also reduce your chance of getting sick. It’s recommended that you choose the window seat to minimize contact with others. One study said that they found that the window seat provided the least contact with other people and you’re less likely to get up as often, which also reduces your contact with germ carriers. Clean Your Area: From what I found online, airline do not clean the aircraft where you sit very often. To make it worse, an article stated that researchers found that the seat pocket and armrests have the most germs on the planes! YUCK!! The recommendations are to wipe down your tray table, armrest, tv screen, overhead air vents, lavatory flush buttons, seat belt buckles and the side of the plane if you’re by the window. I have purchased and will continue to buy travel clorox wipes and clean my seating area before take off during every flight. Avoid, Avoid, Avoid: In addition to your seating area being full of germs, you should also avoid touching the magazines, blankets, and pillows. I’m not sure how often those are cleaned, if ever so don’t take any additional changes to breath in germs. You can always bring your own magazines, books, pillow, blanket or sweater. Now, there is no way you can avoid germs completely on an airplane because you have to touch so many things just to get seated. You can however, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Remember that viruses spread when you touch an germ filled surface and then touch your face or mouth afterward. Keep Your Hands Clean: Since your hands are usually the carriers of germs from one person to another, keep hand sanitizer with you and use this after you touch any of the mentioned items above (last 2 items). Also, make sure to watch your hands thoroughly if you go to the bathroom, using warm to hot water and soap. Studies show that you need to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, rubbing vigorously. Remember to scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails. Keep Your Air Vent On: I think everyone’s fear is that germs from someone who is sick will filter through the air and will make you sick. From what I have read, it’s unlikely that you’ll get sick unless the person is sitting fairly close to you. By leaving your air vent on and aiming it towards your lap can possibly direct those germs away from your face. “There’s been some research that showed that using the overhead air vent, directed straight downward, can create a cone of protection,” said Dr. Contacessa. “It can actually prevent airborne germs from getting close to you. The airflow from the vent can help to ward off another passenger’s sneeze germs.” Wear A Mask: If the air vent, hand sanitizer and clorox wipes don’t shoo away those pesky germs, you can always wear a mask. Most viruses are transmitted through the air, so a mask is the best way to avoid getting sick. This apply’s to not only the flight but walking around the airport too. There are going to be 50x the amount of people you’ll come in contact with just walking around the airport vs your flight. This increases your chance of getting sick by a passer by traveler. Bring Healthy Food: I always recommend that you bring your own food on an airplane for many reasons. First, you do not know how the airplane food was prepared, what’s in it or how fresh it is. You could end up with a variety of food sickness symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea. The tray it comes in is also going to be a germ carrier since it’s being handled by so many people. The food is also typically not healthy and healthy food will boost your immune system, which will help fight off germs. Fresh fruits and vegetables will contain all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs, while also hydrating you.  Bread and crackers are also helpful in settling upset stomach and preventing motion sickness.  

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