How to: Avoid Germs and Stay Healthy on a Plane
If you’re still grossed out by the Top 8 Dirtiest Places on an Airplane article we posted last week, we don’t blame you! The good news is that, as promised, we have some tips on how to avoid germs and stay healthy on a plane.
We know that a cold or flu is the last thing you want to deal with when you’re traveling for a business meeting or a relaxing vacation. However, according to the Journal of Environmental Health Research, you’re up to 100 times more susceptible to catching a cold on an airplane than in your normal day-to-day life. ONE HUNDRED TIMES!
Here’s our “How to” on keeping yourself healthy and germ free on an airplane:
Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water will keep your body and immune system functioning properly so you can have the best defense against pathogens and germs.
Disinfect your seating area. As you read in the last post, your seat, seat belt buckle, entertainment system, tray table, and seat back pocket are all crawling with germs. Since they don’t get disinfected often (certainly not between each flight), using antibacterial wipes on these surfaces will help kill a majority of the germs.
Don’t drink from bathroom tap water (or the on board coffee or tea). The tap water in the tank does not follow the same filtration standards of the bottled drinking water. In fact, a study by NBC found traces of dangerous bacteria in the tap water. Use the sink water to wash your hands, not to drink.
Avoid aisle seats. Aisle seats actually put you at more risk of getting sick than middle or window seats. People passing through the aisle to get to and from their seats and the restroom expose the aisle seats to more germs. If possible, try to trade the leg room for a more secluded seat.
Use the air vent to blow secondhand air away. There has been some speculation about the air vents actually causing more harm than good. But, the truth is that modern air filters do a great job of cleaning the air before it even gets to you. In addition, if you position the vent so it is blowing just in front of your face , it could be a great first line of defense against other passengers’ secondhand air.
Keep your hands clean. This sounds like common sense, but it’s true! According to the Center for Disease Control keeping your hands clean can prevent up to 30% of bowel related sicknesses, and 20% of respiratory sicknesses (like colds).
Load up on the Vitamin C. Another no brainer, Vitamin C not only strengthens the immune system, but it can prevent further complications and worsened symptoms of the common cold and flu. Additional benefits include decreased stress and younger looking skin (WOOHOO!) So order a tall glass of orange juice, take a Vitamin C tablet, and enjoy the benefits!
Bring your own pillow and blankets. Seriously. Unless you want to snuggle with pillows that numerous other passengers have breathed, slept, and drooled on, we suggest using your own. An investigation by the Wall Street Journal found that airplane pillows and blankets are normally cleaned every five to 30 days- YUCK! Using your own, clean pillow, can help you avoid those germs altogether.
Have other tips to add to this list? Help our AirPretty travelers out and post your tips in the comments below for a chance to win a FREE AirPretty kit of your own!