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Staying healthy when flying

Staying healthy when flying

Old Jan 19, 18, 3:29 pm
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Staying healthy when flying

I am a relatively new to the road warrior style. I have had positions in the past when I travel a lot but it it was always 90% car travel. Now I am in a position where I fly 3-4 weeks a month.

Back on 1/11 I was headed home thru ATL from Greenville. In the seat behind me, there was a woman who was basically hacking up a lung. I texted a colleague telling him that I was pretty sure the woman behind me was giving me the flu.

Well Monday rolls around and guess who has the Flu B? This guy! Even with Tamiflu and doing everything you are supposed to I really considered going to the Hospital it has been the worst illness I have had in probably 20 years.

I missed this week from work and am just now starting to feel better today. I honestly don't know if I am going to feel well enough to travel this coming Monday.

What are some tips that ya'll use to try to avoid something like this from happening?
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Old Jan 19, 18, 7:07 pm
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Old Jan 20, 18, 9:12 am
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In a situation like that I find a few early preventative whisky’s are key to killing anything before it takes hold.
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Old Jan 21, 18, 9:38 am
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Avoiding alcohol and filling up a water bottle before the flight seems to help a lot.

I also avoid non-bottled water. I've read conflicting reports about the water used in the tea/coffee - either it comes from the same source as the handwashing water in the lav or some other rarely cleaned container.

I get tomato juice on the plane for vitamin c (plus no sugar like OJ)
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Old Jan 21, 18, 9:53 am
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It might be relatable, or not, but I am a school teacher. The first year I taught, I was sick almost constantly. I think you build up a little immunity with exposure. Also, I always get a flu shot, even if it isn't always the right strain, it will help lessen the flu. Finally, I really do use a lot of hand sanitizer. I used to think it was overkill, but after spending a lot of time in a closed space with 35 germ factories, I have gotten to where I use the hand sanitizer before touch any food, etc. On flights, I carry the hand sanitizer wipes. Especially long flights where I will eat.

I still get a lot of little colds and coughs, but I get over them pretty quickly.

You may have gotten the flu from the lady behind you, or you may have gotten it when you shook hands with several people at a meeting earlier. Who knows?

You might find the same tactics will help when you travel a lot in an enclosed space.
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Old Jan 21, 18, 11:23 am
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Lots of water to stay hydrated. Preferably bottled and in flight I order seltzer to insure it's fresh. (Never trust unsealed bottles). Carry and use True Lemon to add vitamin C. Or add Emergen-C packets to bottled water.

Hand sanitizer wipes are good - often the tray table is the dirtiest item on the plane.

Use the the air vent to direct germs away from you (after using sani-wipe on it)

Generally stay healthy and support your immune system despite pressures of travel schedule - eat healthy, exercise, get 8 hours sleep. Use noise canceling headset to avoid stress of noise in flight. Meditation helps reduce inflammation which makes you more susceptible to illness.

Get an annual flu shot. This year's strain is wicked. Even though the shots don't always protect they do seem to lessen the impact. You might also speak to your doctor about the pneumonia shot if you are prone to upper respiratory infections.

And in act of compassion, offer the person hacking up a lung any cough drops you may have ... if they cough less they may spread less germs. Win-Win.
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Old Jan 21, 18, 2:52 pm
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I don't think that there is anything you can "realistically" do that will be overtly successful at having a long term measurable result, outside of wearing a hazmat suit, because flying is the only scenario where you are locked inside a tube with the lighest amount of superficial interior cleaning during turnarounds, and the absolute minimal use of recirculated air permitted by law (due to airline economics). See the threads about bedbugs, kids vomiting on seats, non-functioning lavs, etc, which are items that on the ground would result in fines and/or closure of the business establishment in question.

Flu shots are an annual staple for me, as is trying to be as healthy as possible at all times, but it is what it is. Thankfully I've only been seriously really, really, sick within 24 hours of flying twice in my life that I can remember. Once I got a flu and the other time it turned out to be a case of streptococcal pneumonia.
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Last edited by KDS777; Jan 21, 18 at 3:00 pm
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Old Jan 25, 18, 10:14 pm
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First, always get a flu shot. We travel internationally a lot and get flu shots every six months. If you can travel in F, do so, less people and they are a little farther away.

Wash hands, wash hands, wash hands, and train yourself to not touch your face...eyes, nose, mouth. Bring the strongest antibacterial wipes you can buy. I prefer Costcos and Lysol but will also use WetOnes. The # 1 dirtiest place is the fabric bag on the seat in front of you. Just don't use it. Use antibacterial wipes on seat belt, arm rests, pull down tray, basically anything you are going to use. After you have done all this don't forget to clean your hands again.

Stay hydrated, but I buy my own water, soda, juice, or whatever I want sealed in a bottle. I do not drink out of their glasses.

All of the above is not because I am a hypochondriac, but I do have a compromised immune system. I rarely ever get sick.
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Old Jan 26, 18, 12:22 am
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Antibac wipes on anything around my seat I'll be touching. 24-hour hand sanitizer (still wash hands as normal; doesn't affect it). Really, really, try not to touch eyes/nose. And I'll sometimes pop a facemask in my handbag, living as I do in the land of SARs, bird flu...
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Old Jan 26, 18, 7:17 am
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Make sure to get lots of sleep.
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Old Jan 26, 18, 9:12 am
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Hydrate like a boss. Get ample sleep. Try to exercise when you can - even if it's just getting in a brisk walk in the morning. Pace yourself on the booze, both inflight and if you're going to client/colleague dinners. If you're not a big drinker, nurse a glass of red wine all night long... If it's a 3-4 night trip where I control the agenda, I schedule at least one early night without a big dinner. I use that night to exercise hard (a long run if possible) and stay 100% alcohol-free.

I don't buy into all of the hand sanitizing products, but I do wash hands often and try to minimize unnecessary contact with other people or things that other people touch regularly.
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Old Jan 26, 18, 10:34 am
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So you wash your hands in the restroom, make sure to use a paper towel to open and close the door, return to your seat and buckle your seatbelt. Later you adjust your air vent and open your tray table. Then you dig your fingers into your bag of pretzels. Did you thoroughly sanitize all these things first before you handled them? Oops. Hand sanitizer is your friend on an airplane. Dirtiest Places on Airplanes: How to Avoid Germs | Time
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Old Jan 28, 18, 9:11 pm
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Originally Posted by dalehill View Post
So you wash your hands in the restroom, make sure to use a paper towel to open and close the door, return to your seat and buckle your seatbelt. Later you adjust your air vent and open your tray table. Then you dig your fingers into your bag of pretzels. Did you thoroughly sanitize all these things first before you handled them? Oops. Hand sanitizer is your friend on an airplane. Dirtiest Places on Airplanes: How to Avoid Germs Time
The tops of aisle seats are likely harboring germs from every person who walks by them and holds on for support, according to Zimring — and many of those people have just come from the bathroom. So be aware of touching the area next to the aisle headrest, and it’s probably best to not rest your face there as you fall asleep.

Sitting near the aisle puts passengers in the line of fire of any communicable viruses that could break out on the plane.

One study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases analyzed a flight from Boston to L.A. that made an emergency landing due to an outbreak of vomiting and diarrhea. The researchers found that that people sitting in the aisle were far more likely to contract norovirus, but there was no link between contracting it and using the bathroom.

“If you sit by the window seat you have less chance of getting sick,” Gerba confirms.


I'm still sticking with the aisle seat, thanks to hand san and antibac wipes.
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Old Jan 28, 18, 10:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Jeannietx View Post
Bring the strongest antibacterial wipes you can buy. I prefer Costcos and Lysol but will also use WetOnes.
Unless those anti-bacterial solutions are primarily alcohol based, please don't use them. You are just helping more restitant bacteria evolve.
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Old Jan 29, 18, 8:49 am
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Originally Posted by devdas View Post
Unless those anti-bacterial solutions are primarily alcohol based, please don't use them. You are just helping more restitant bacteria evolve.
Or just don't waste money on all of these products to begin with.
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