I am sure, that you want to avoid getting sick during travelling.
But with a big concentration of people raises the risk of falling ill. When you ad the long demanding night hours on a plane, or waiting for the next connection, it does not help a thing at all.
So how to actually prevent getting sick on an aeroplane?
These tips might help you to stay healthy while heading to your destination.
1. Use Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer is something i learned to use when i started working as a cabin crew. The number of people you meet each day! Even though you are not shaking their hands one by one, they still bring their "bugs" with them. Then you touch the money at the airport while buying something to eat, you touch your luggage several times which has been through scans or cargo and those don´t really get washed. You touch the door of a cab or the poll on a bus to hold on to, then the seat belt as well as the touch screen ...
Don’t obsess, but at least before each meal and stop touching your face or biting your nails.
2. Wash Your Hands Frequently
Hand sanitizer is not a replacement for washing your hands. Washing your hands is one of the most important things to do if you want to avoid getting sick when you fly. This will limit the spreading of any virus or bacteria.
You can also use a paper towel to turn off the sink faucet after washing your hands and opening the door. Again not to be weird or anything, but as a cabin crew, i saw how these places are being (un) washed! The plane often times have only minutes before new people come and time is money.
3. Minimize touching things around
Once i read an article about where is the biggest amount of bacteria on an aeroplane and you would not believe it ... it is the tray table! Yop, the tray you eat from! Followed by armrests and touch screen and obviously the toilet.
Honestly, there is only a handful amount of tray tables they "wash" - by a not good looking piece of cloth, that barely touched the surface and quick to wash another one.
So good advice is to use hand wipes or the sanitizer to take extra precaution.
4. Dress properly
It is not just about the bacteria all around, but also about the cold air. Even though i fly from South Africa or Mauritius i always have long pants and my back carries a scarf, sweater and extra socks.
Due to flying to the high altitude the cabin has to go through compression of the air and that is oftentimes cold before this is finished and pilots can start heating the air up properly. You can then very easily get cold or catch flu if you are still half-naked from the beach.
5. Get Plenty of Sleep Before You Fly
Lack of sleep can weaken your immune system and therefore you are more susceptible to getting sick when your immune system is down. It should be a pre-flight duty to get plenty of good sleep beforehand to avoid getting sick when you fly.
This is especially vital for people who don’t sleep well on flights like myself (I hate night flights). Try to get a solid seven to eight hours of sleep the night before you fly.
6. Stay Hydrated
You should drink a good amount of water, because, the lack of humidity in the air throughout the plane can lead to dehydration. As a result, this dries out your nasal passages and mucus membranes. This makes it easier for viruses and bacteria to enter your lungs.
I highly recommend travelling with a water bottle that you can bring on board with you. Keep in mind that some low-cost airlines do not provide passengers with water. Therefore, it’s crucial that you bring your own unless you want to pay a steep price for water on board.
7. Ask to Switch Seats If the Person Next to You Is Sick
If the person next to you is coughing and sneezing, ask the flight attendant if you can move seats. Explain the situation to them and they will relocate you if extra seats are available.
There’s no reason to sit next to a germ factory if you have the option to move and depend on the circumstances, you might even land up being in business class ... just saying.
8. Eat Well
An unhealthy diet can lower your immune system, everybody should know that. Avoid eating greasy and unhealthy food before your travels and focus on greens, veggies, and fruits. Onboard of an aircraft avoid eating salty snacks as that will send you to a dehydration path and that is not nice - swollen legs, bloated stomach and so on.
9. Don’t Touch Your Face
This might be a tough habit for some to break, but touching your face can spread bacteria from your hands to areas that are more prone to get you sick. This includes your mouth, nose, and eyes (or even acne for that matter).
If you wear contacts and you have to rub your eyes or change them, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before you do so.
10. Don´t Use Pillows nor Blankets
I don´t use pillows nor blankets on flights, only rarely, when they’re wrapped. This at least means, that somebody took them out of the aircraft, probably washed and wrapped again. But i know that we used to re-use the blankets. Fresh ones were given to the first batch and during the day they were just folded and used again. In some point even the pillows as we did not have spear ones.
When it comes to the pillows, the majority of the time only the cases are swopped but the pillow itself is not washed.
I recommend travelling with your own blanket (i use my scarf) and a pillow if you want to avoid getting sick when you fly.
I hope you found this list helpful and you know exactly what to do now to avoid getting sick when you fly. Did I miss anything on the list? Let me know in the comments below.