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Here’s How to Avoid Getting Sick on Airplanes

A collage of an airplane passenger wearing a nose mask and another feeling sick
Source: Pinterest

Air travel is one of the most exciting ways to get from point A to point B. From the speed to breathtaking aerial views, convenience, etc., each flight can be an adventure better experienced than heard.

If you’re an extrovert, meeting and making friends with other travelers would be the highlight of your journey. For an introvert, just sitting in silence while you read a book, plug in your headphones, or indulge in any of your favorite activities sounds like bliss.

However, regardless of your personality type, one thing is sure—germs will find you anywhere or anyhow you are. And no matter whether you are a germaphobe or not, these microscopic intruders can make you sick.

Fortunately, you’re not helpless against germs, and there is a lot you can do to minimize contact with them on a flight. Let’s take a look at them one after another.

First things first, proper hand hygiene remains the number 1 rule for avoiding germs. That’s why medical experts advise individuals to wash their hands up to 10 times daily for about 30 seconds per session. This is particularly important when you’re on a plane with a very high risk of germ contamination.

Since washing your hands regularly on an airplane can be pretty challenging, your best and most convenient alternative is a hand sanitizer. As long as it’s at least 60% alcohol, you’re good to go.

More than just your hands, you should also ensure that the area around you is sanitized properly. To get this done, always place sanitizing wipes in a small Ziploc bag that you can take along with you while boarding a plane. Before you have your seat, you can take the wipes out and use them to clean your armrest, tray table, headrest, seat belt, and any other place you believe your body will come in contact with.

Another thing you should do to limit your exposure to germs is to ditch the airplane water that is served in cups. According to reports, airplane water is dirtier than you think and has been known to contain E.coli, bacteria, and other disease-causing organisms. 

This doesn’t mean you should remain thirsty throughout the duration of a flight, of course. You just need to find healthier options, like purchasing a sealed bottle of water at the airport before you board the plane.

Next, keep your items in the bin space over your head rather than underneath a seat. This is because the floor has a much higher concentration of germs than the overhead. You don’t want to transfer bacteria and all sorts of harmful microorganisms from the bottom of other passengers’ shoes to your luggage and then your body.

The fourth tip to avoid falling sick on an airplane is avoiding the middle seat. Contrary to what you may believe, the air on planes is pretty clean. It’s the people around you that pose the biggest threats. As such, positioning yourself between two persons will significantly increase your risk of sitting next to someone who may be carrying a contagious illness.

Other best practices to follow include bringing your own blanket, wearing a high-quality mask, and wearing shoes that you can easily clean when you arrive at your destination.


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