If you’ve ever picked up a cold or a bug on a flight, or are generally a germophobe, below are YK Daily's tips to avoid those germ gremlins at all costs!
Did you know the germiest place on a plane, it turns out, is the very place your food rests on: the tray table. Next germiest are the overhead air vents, the lavatory flush buttons, and the seatbelt buckles.
The dirtiest things in airports can be water fountain buttons and bathroom stall locks. Surprisingly, as gross as both airport and airplane bathrooms can be, they’re not as gross as that tray table. Germy surfaces aren't the only health threat on airplanes. Recirculated air and low cabin humidity are culprits too. However, there is plenty you can do to fend off illness when you fly.
1. Carry Antibacterial Wipes, Hand Sanitiser (Or Both!)
If you can't find these highly sought after necessities, try baby wipes or even fill a 100ml travel bottle with soapy water. Wipe off your tray table and seatbelt buckle, or at least use one of the above after you’ve touched them. It’s always smart to apply hand sanitiser before eating on a plane, as well as after washing your hands in the lavatory. (That water isn’t necessarily bacteria-free).
2. Boost Your Immune System Before & During The Flight
Many a time someone has landed in Asia with a cold, thanks to that transpacific triple whammy of shared air, close quarters, and sleep deprivation for 16 hours or more. When flying overnight take Vitamin C starting two days before the flight. A lot of people do the same with Echinacea or Airborne. Being able to sleep on the plane is important too, of course, so don't forget your eye mask, not only does this help you sleep, but also stops any airborne germs entering through your eyes - just make sure you don't end up snoring with your mouth wide open drooling, not a good look!
3. Drink Plenty Of Water
Most airplane cabins are drier than the Sahara. If your rule at home is to drink eight ounces of water eight times a day to stay hydrated, you need to up that on the plane. Bring at least one bottle of water onboard with you, don't worry about getting up, remember that it is a good thing: it means moving your legs rather than letting them get cramped from long periods of immobility. You can refill your water bottle in the galley if you dare, but don’t drink the water in an airplane bathroom.
4. Avoid Caffeine & Alcohol
They’re dehydrating. Avoid salty foods such as peanuts and pretzels, and salty drinks such as tomato juice, as well. You may crave them—dry airplane air and low cabin pressure cut down your sense of taste, making food taste blander than usual—but if you’re going to consume all that salt, be sure to consume more water too.
5. Keep Your Eyes & Nose From Drying Out
Lack of humidity in the airline cabin is one of the biggest reasons for the higher risk of sickness. When the mucus in our noses and throats dries up, germs are more likely to infect us. Carry saline nasal spray and artificial tears eyedrops. The spray prevents nasal mucus membranes from drying out. The drops not only relieve dry, itchy eyes but also prevent you from rubbing them with the fingers that just touched your tray table or seatbelt buckle.
6. Board Your Flight Relatively Rested
It’s all too easy to begin a trip exhausted, having worn yourself out with all the prep for being away from home and office for an extended period. Before flying, boost your immune system not only with sufficient sleep but also with nutritious fresh foods—vegetables, fruits—since you probably won’t be getting them on the plane. If you’re fighting a cold, take an oral decongestant (such as Sudafed) shortly before boarding.
7. Nab The Window Seat
If you sit in the window seat, you are exposed to fewer people during the journey than those in the aisle or middle seats. According to a study led last year, those sitting by the aisle were exposed to 64 different people during their flight, compared with 12 for those by the window.
8. Beware Of The Mask
Now this is a little controversial, however ‘unless it's tightly fitted, a face mask won't stop germs getting in, however it does stop you spreading them. Just beware of excessively touching your mask and face, especially when you haven't sanitised your hands. The more comfortable the mask, the less likely you are to keep re-adjusting it.
Happy germ free travelling!
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