For those of you who feel like an airplane is a giant petri dish, fear not! There are several measures you can take to prevent contracting a cold or flu.
So why are you about 113 times more likely to come down with a virus on an airplane than in your daily life? The main culprits are the large number of people in extra close quarters and the low cabin humidity on-board your flight. Cabin humidity usually wavers around or below ten percent, which leads to the drying of your nasal cavities and throat, leaving you more susceptible to colds.
So let’s talk solutions! How can you help protect yourself from yucky in-flight germs?
With cabin air dryness comes dehydration. Sipping on water throughout the flight can help keep your nose and throat moist which helps keep your immune defenses on high alert.
Bring Nasal Mist and Mouthwash
Keeping your nasal passages moist doesn’t end with drinking water. Nasal irrigation is a second defense toward preventing dry nose that causes you to be especially susceptible toward a germ invasion! Additionally, mouthwash can keep your mouth moist and can kill germs.
Wash Your Hands
Although hand washing as often as you can will help keep your hands virus-free, the most important time to wash your hands is before you eat [even one potato chip!].
Carry Hand Sanitizer
Can’t wash your hands? We’ve all been on a plane where the aisle is blocked or you’ve got the window seat! As a hand washing alternative, the CDC recommends hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
Disinfect the Dirtiest Surfaces
While you might not want to be that person who walks around with a giant tub of Clorox wipes, there are common airplane surfaces that carry extra germs. Whether you wipe these surfaces down or wash your hands after touching them, keep these typically dirty surfaces in mind. They include: tray tables, overhead air vents, seat belt buckles, armrests, lavatory flush buttons and door knobs, and the tops of seats that people often use to steady themselves while walking about the cabin.
Use the Overhead Air Vent to Your Advantage
Make sure to keep the overhead air vent open, blowing away from your face. Angle the air flow toward your hands where they naturally fall in your lap for the best defense system!
Be Strategic About Where You Sit
Studies show that passengers sitting in the aisle are more likely to get sick, especially norovirus. People in aisle seats not only were exposed to more passengers sitting around them but also to those walking by in the aisle. For instance, a large study found that a person in an aisle seat came in contact with, on average, 64 other people, while a middle seat passengers came in contact with 58 people, and a window seat person only 12. Moreover, people in the middle of the plane came in contact with more passengers than those sitting in the front or the back of the plane.
For more travel tips and tricks – and an array of travel protection options – talk to your travel agent and check out www.travelinsured.com.