Germ-Free Flying: 7 Ways To Keeping Healthy On A Plane

Airports and planes are where everyone and everything goes to travel – including germs. Though planes have air filters that reduce the number of microscopic viruses and bacteria, they can still harbour and transport them. Follow these simple ways to avoid picking up germs when you fly.


A full flight of people and…bacteria?

Scientists have found that a wide variety of harmful bacteria can survive on various surfaces of airline cabins for hundreds of hours, including the deadly Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) and E.coli. So make those little packets of anti-bacterial wipes your ally in treating arm rests, seat belts, tray tables, window shades, lavatory doors and everything else you could unsuspectingly pick up germs (when it comes to keeping healthy, who cares if you look like you’ve got OCD?).

#2 Eye Candy

Don’t rub your eyes when they get dry no thanks to pressurised cabin air

If you’ve touched surfaces that’s susceptible to bacteria left behind by previous passengers, always sanitise or wash your hands and don’t touch your eyes – it’s one of the most common ways cold and flu viruses spread. In planes where there’s little moisture in the air and eyes tend to get dry and itchy, be mindful of the germs you might be transmitting from your hands and into your eyes.

#3 Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Your best friend on the plane: bottled water

You may have heard it a thousand times, but drinking plenty of water while you’re flying isn’t just about vanity and keeping skin supple – it’s a matter of life and health. Lack of humidity in enclosed, pressurised cabins dries out the body’s mucous membranes, so it’s harder to flush out germs and putting you at higher risk of getting sick.

#4 Pillow (And Blanket) Talk

Just the blanket, thank you very much

So you’ve rushed to make your flight, you’re tired and really just want to get some shut eye. But before you snuggle up to the pillow and blanket provided, think about the last person who had been doing just that. Unless the pillow or blanket is sealed in plastic which indicates that it’s been laundered, who knows what germs are lingering on them.

#5 (Don’t) Spice Up Your Life

Seeds and spices are more prone to transmitting diseases than meats

Not everyone’s a fan of plane food but for the most part if it’s cooked and heated, it’s safe to eat. But avoid uncooked seeds and spices, which have been found to harbour bacteria like salmonella, and be especially wary if flying around developing countries which may have lighter sanitary restrictions than we’d like.

#6 Travel Nose No Bounds

Bless you for using a tissue

Did we mention that pressurised plane cabins are extremely drying? Which is no good for noses. If you’re feeling congested, pick up a bottle of nasal spray to unclog and moisturise the insides your nose. If you have a cold (and have already checked with the doctor to make sure it’s not a life-threatening virus), take an oral decongestant. Prone to nose bleeds? Have petroleum jelly or Neosporin ready to keep nasal tissues from drying out.

#7 Yo-Gurt, Girl!

Yogurt will help stave away the common cold

Instead of having a coffee (which doesn’t help with in-flight hydration), have some yogurt before you fly. Packed with live cultures, lactic acid and beneficial probiotic bacteria that boosts the digestive and immune system, studies have found that having a cup of low-fat yogurt reduces your chance of catching a cold by 25 percent, and the probiotics help shield from other viruses.

Keep healthy and let’s travel!

Image credits: Main, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.


Sasha Yusof

This tiny nomad packs a punch, especially when it comes to weekend getaways, high fashion and hunting down the best local eats and coffee spots. She also loves cats. With a vengeance.

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