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10 Tips for Staying Healthy at 30,000 Feet

There have been a lot of features over the years about healthy flying, and the advice varies from source to source. Here are FlyerTalk’s top 10 tips for flyers worried about germs at 30,000 feet.

1. Most infections occur when you touching a contaminated surface, and then unknowingly transferring the germ to the eyes, nose or mouth. This is true anywhere, not just on planes, so the standard advice to wash your hands with soap and water is fundamental to reducing the risk of contracting an infectious disease. Planes, however, pose a small problem because the water onboard may not be the most pure. The workaround for this is to use a waterless hand sanitizer.

2. Wipe your seat area with antibacterial wipes. Pathogens including fecal matter and Methicillan-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria have been identified in passenger cabins of commercial aircraft. It’s best to wipe down the seat, arm rests, tray table, seat belt and seat back pocket. The wipes are TSA friendly, too, and they’re good for hands, so don’t forget them when you visit the rest room.

3. Drink a lot of water before, during and after a flight. Staying hydrated in the low humidity environment present on commercial airplanes can help prevent feeling run down, and it will also help ward off illness.

4. Get up and move around. Staying seated for long periods of time can reduce blood flow to the legs, which may lead to a painful blood clot. Whenever possible, and at least every hour or so, stretch. Even if it’s just in your seating area, stand up, move and get the blood flowing.

5. If you have a medical condition that requires prescription drugs, pack those in your carry-on bag. These drugs should never be stowed in checked luggage.

6. Set the air conditioning vent at an angle to blow air directly in front of your face. In the rare case that some disease-carrying agent floats by, the air current will blow it away.

7. Skip the airline-supplied pillows and blankets. The wrapped ones are probably okay, but if you want to play it safe, bring your own.

8. Carry a healthy snack. Not all airlines offer snacks during short flights, and if you end up getting stuck at the airport due to an unexpected delay, you’ll have a nutritious food option available.

9. Wear appropriate clothing. The temperature inside a plane can vary a lot. Dress in layers so you can adjust your outfit accordingly, allowing you to stay comfortable and healthy.

10. This final tip is not something you can do on a plane to stay healthy, but rather something you should strive for before you set foot in the airport. Travel when you’re healthy. A strong immune system is the best defense against any pathogenic bacteria you encounter anywhere. To support the immune system, it’s recommended that you get a good night’s sleep, exercise regularly and get out in the sun for some Vitamin D. It’s also a good idea to eat yogurt, or an equivalent supplement, which boost the amount good bacteria in the body.

[Photo: iStock]

Comments are Closed.
IBobi October 22, 2014

Kudos for saying #10! More of that in the workplace, too, please! Don't come to work sick! Also since I've been doing #6 for years, happy to be validated finally ;)

JohnQ Public October 22, 2014

Number 2 is total overkill... We cannot sanitize the world we live in, and when you kill all the bacteria you kill the good with the bad. If you follow point 10, then your immune system should be strong enough to handle what ever is on your seat. If really concerned, wash your hands, don't touch your eyes, nose and mouth.