How To Avoid Getting Sick In Airplanes And Airports

December 5, 2018  |  
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The holidays are so close. You can almost smell the pine trees, hot cocoa, and fresh snow at the cabin you’re visiting for your ski vacation or your hometown. The only things standing between you and your winter vacation now are a few last projects, paying a couple bills, arranging a dog sitter, and cleaning the apartment. Oh yea, and getting in an airplane. Wait, there’s more—you also need to fight your way through a busy airport before you even get on that airplane. Airports and airplanes are notoriously bacteria-ridden places. They’re right up there with the gym, spas, and some of the other germiest places. Of course, the catch is that if you are on a plane it’s because you’re on your way somewhere—somewhere you’d probably like to be healthy. Being sick at home is no walk in the park, but being sick when you’re traveling, visiting old friends, and completing jam-packed days of sightseeing is even worse. Here are tricks for staying healthy in airplanes and airports.


cold and flu prevention flyers

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Adjust your vent

Point your over-head vent away from you. When it faces you, it blows all the bacteria in front of you towards your face. And do keep it on, to increase ventilation.

cold and flu prevention flyers

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Be rude

If you’re seated next to someone who is clearly sick, don’t hesitate to change seats. While you may want to be polite and stay in your seat, it’s not worth it if you’re putting your health at risk.

cold and flu prevention flyers

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Be rude, again

Put your headphones on and listen to a podcast—it’s not a great idea to get chatty with your seatmate for the trip. Think about how close your faces already are. Turn them towards each other and talk for hours, and you’re exchanging germs at a close distance.

cold and flu prevention flyers

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Ask for a new can

Sometimes when you order a soda on the plane, the flight attendant pours what’s left of an already-open can into your cup. But that can may have touched the lip of someone else’s cup earlier. Ask for a fresh can.

cold and flu prevention flyers

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Don’t calm flight jitters with booze

Though alcohol might help calm the jitters that come with flying, it can also greatly weaken your immune system. Turn to healthier alternatives like essential oils or meditation.

cold and flu prevention flyers

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Don’t calm jitters with junk food, either

Perhaps your way of easing pre-fight jitters is indulging in the junk food available in the airport food court. This food won’t do your immune system any good, though. Eat wholesome, organic foods during cold and flu season.

cold and flu prevention flyers

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Wear a medical mask

People may giggle when you pass by, but don’t mind them—you’ll never see them again anyways. A medical mask can greatly reduce your chances of catching air-borne bacteria.

cold and flu prevention flyers

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Bring your own pillow and blanket

Pack your own blanket and pillow—there’s no knowing how well the airlines clean theirs. In the midst of over-packed flight schedules, some items may not make it into the laundry before making it back to your seat.

cold and flu prevention flyers

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Sanitize your tray table

Bring a small packet of sanitizing wipes and wipe down your tray table, as well as your arm rests, the moment you sit down.

cold and flu prevention flyers

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Avoid handrails

If you use the horizontal escalator aka travelator at airports to move around faster, don’t put your hands on the rails.

cold and flu prevention flyers

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Avoid the bathroom door handle

If you use the airplane bathroom, bring a tissue with you and use that to open the door. The airplane bathroom door handle has a tremendous amount of bacteria.


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Take Echinacea

Take plenty of Echinacea leading up to your trip as it can greatly boost your immune system. You can take it in a tablet form, or have it as tea.


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Fly during normal hours

That red eye flight may seem like the most practical one, but it messes with your sleep schedule. If you’re on the verge of getting sick already, one bad night of rest can be just the thing that sends you over the edge. So fly during the day, and sleep at night—in a bed.


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Carry hand sanitizer

Bring an alcohol-based hand sanitizer wherever you go. Squirt it on your hands any time you touch a door handle, luggage, the overhead bins, bathroom stall doors, or really any surface in an airport or airplane.

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Combat low humidity

Humidity can be very low on airplanes, which can lead to dry mucus membranes and that increases your chances of infections. Use a saline solution before the flight to combat the dryness.

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