How to Catch Your Flight Without Catching a Cold

December 23, 2013
by Michael Barber
How to Catch Your Flight Without Catching a Cold

Airplanes are a formidable carrier of the cold virus due to low cabin humidity at high levels. Colds are much more likely to be transmitted on a plane. This explains why colds and germs are so prevalent on planes and in airports. Here are some simple ways to protect yourself from getting sick the next time you catch a flight.

Related: Afraid of Germs? Use These Tips to Survive the Cold & Flu Season

Don't Touch Anything

One way to avoid coming into contact with a germ-filled plane is to not touch anything. Avoid grabbing door knobs with your bare hands, and try not to touch seats and handles when walking down the aisle. If you do come into contact with any of these surfaces, use a hand sanitizer.

Increase Your Defenses

It's not always possible to sit next to a healthy person on the plane. If your neighbor has signs of a cold, take precautions. Use a saline nose spray before and after the flight to keep your membranes moist or use a Neti pot to flush out your nasal cavity. Take a Vitamin C supplement and drink green tea to boost your immune system.

Related: 7 Surprising Things You're Doing to Help Yourself Get the Flu

Bring Your Own Pillow

Airplane pillows can collect a lot of bacteria. Instead of exposing yourself to the germs, bring your own. Keep it covered in a case, and wash it once you arrive at your destination. The same goes for blankets. Pack your own in your carry on, then wash it when you reach your destination.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water on your flight. The water will protect you from getting dehydrated from the dry air on the plane, and will also help flush out any bacteria you may have picked up while in the airport or boarding the plane. If you're a nervous flyer, avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, as these can weaken your immune system. If you've had enough water, switch to orange juice for the extra immune boost.

Related: Are You Drinking Enough Water? Probably Not!

Be Mindful of Your Seating Area

Your tray table, arms of your seat, and contents of your seat back pocket are all potential surfaces for contaminants. Wipe down your area with a sanitizing wipe. Wipe your tray down before and after each time you use it. Use hand sanitizer throughout your flight. Wash your hands before you eat or after coming into contact with high-touch areas. Use a paper towel to open the bathroom door to avoid recontamination.

Choose Your Seat Wisely

If you have the option, sit near the front of the plane. Most commercial aircrafts provide better airflow in the front of the plane. Avoid the aisle seats. Every passenger walking up and down the aisle is likely to grab them for support, leaving their germs behind.

Bring Your Own Snacks

Airplane food tends to be filled with chemicals. Opt for healthy snack items instead, and keep them wrapped in a tightly sealed bag to avoid exposure. Carry your own bottle of water instead of grabbing one from the drink cart. Avoid coffee and tea. The water from the plane it's mixed with isn't always clean. According to EPA tests, they've found traces of bacteria such as E. Coli.

Related: Care Continuum: Where to Go When Your Sick or Injured [INFOGRAPHIC]

Take precautions when flying this holiday to avoid catching a cold. If you find yourself coming down with one, visit your doctor or an urgent care center.