Coming down with a cold or stomach bug after traveling happens to the best of us, and it’s a great way to put a damper on your trip! These tips alone will not prevent 100% of the illnesses you may come across on a commercial flight. However, they can give you the upper hand on preventing illness while traveling:

Wash Your Hands

The simplest way to prevent getting sick while traveling is to wash your hands regularly, especially after you get off an airplane. If you can, head straight to the bathroom to wash your hands once you reach the airport. Just be sure not to miss your connecting flight!

Don’t Touch Your Face

Keeping your hands away from your face can help protect you from germs that linger on commonly touched surfaces. Even if you are regularly washing your hands, its best to avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes until you exit the plane.

Be Healthy

Taking care of your body before a trip can also help your immune system fight off those pesky germs. Getting adequate sleep, taking probiotics to help promote your gut health, taking Vitamin C to prevent illness, and eating healthy can give your body the necessary boost to fight off germs.

Wipe Down the Tray Table

Carrying cleaning wipes with you is a handy way to avoid germs while on a plane. Wipe down all areas of your seat that are commonly touched, including the seat belt buckle and the tray table in front of you. Don’t forget to wipe the TV screen and controls, air-conditioning nozzles, and the flight attendant call button as well.

Use Hand Sanitizer

If you can’t wash your hands in the bathroom on the flight, use hand sanitizer to kill germs in a pinch. Besides washing your hands after exiting the plane, use sanitizer after touching items on your flight, including the emergency flight pamphlet and magazines, TV screen and controls, and the overhead bins.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking fluids is always a smart idea when you’re trying to avoid catching a cold. It shouldn’t be hard to stay hydrated, as the dry air found inside airplanes can make you feel thirstier than normal. Additionally, the low humidity levels can cause increased skin, nose, and eye dryness. Drinking water can even fight some of the effects of jet lag, so you’ll land feeling refreshed and ready for your adventure!

Avoid the Bathroom

Although you should stay properly hydrated, you should also try to avoid using the bathroom, if possible. It is the most commonly used part of the plane, and the flush button has a high concentration of germs. If you do have to use the restroom, use paper towels to cover anything you touch, such as the seat, flush button, and door handle, then dispose of it while exiting the restroom. Additionally, make sure you wash your hands, and avoid touching the handles or door on your way out. It’s not a bad idea to follow up with some travel-sized hand sanitizer for a second round of germ fighting.

Use the Air Conditioner

Using the overhead air conditioning nozzle for the duration of the flight can help create a cone of protection around you to blow away airborne germs, including those from your coughing seatmate. Just be sure you wipe down the nozzle with a cleansing wipe before the flight to avoid germs from others who may have touched it previously.

Wear a Mask

Wearing a mask on the flight is a great way to avoid germs. Whether the person is coughing in the seat behind you or next to you, not touching your mouth or nose and wearing a mask can prevent the inhalation of germs that cause the common cold, bronchitis, and other respiratory illnesses.

By taking a few precautions and practicing proactive sanitation measures, you'll be healthy and happily on your way to your next destination!

We are here when you need us! Patient First is able to evaluate and treat a wide range of illnesses and injuries. You can visit any Patient First center from 8am to 8pm, every day of the year – no appointment is needed.

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