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Tips on Not Getting Sick from Plane Travel

Dec 20, 2021

Tips on Not Getting Sick from Plane Travel

Even before the holiday season began, plane travel throughout the United States was picking up. Things will only get busier for airlines as the holidays kick into high gear. If you’re thinking of traveling on a plane this holiday season, make sure to follow certain precautions so you can keep yourself and your family healthier.

Here are tips to help avoid getting sick from plane travel.

Use a hand sanitizer with 60% or more alcohol

While washing your hands with soap and hot water can be more effective at killing germs than hand sanitizer, it’s not always practical to get up multiple times on a flight to wash your hands. According to the CDC, to stay safe without that inconvenience, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Buy small bottles of hand-sanitizer. Anything above 12 ounces will not be allowed in a carry-on bag.

Clean the seat with sanitizing wipes

Most U.S. airlines now provide complimentary sanitizing wipes. Though airlines clean their planes between flights, it is still good practice to use sanitizing wipes on every part of the seat, including:

  • Headrest
  • Seat cushion
  • Armrests
  • Seatbelt
  • Tray table
  • Entertainment screen
  • Inside the pocket in front of your seat

If you aren’t sure your airline provides wipes, bring some in your carry-on bag.

Pick a window seat

While window seats provide amazing views during take-off and landing, there is another reason why you should pick them. When sitting by the window, there is no traffic passing by you, unlike sitting in an aisle seat. Other passengers, drink and food carts, flight attendants — all of these are potential ways for germs to spread. By picking a window seat, you are limiting the potential interactions with other people as much as possible.

Buy a drink with electrolytes

Traveling on a plane can feel exhausting. Getting through security, the flight itself, time zone changes, air sickness and the interactions with other people can affect how you feel. Electrolytes — minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium — can help regulate fluid balance, control blood pressure, help muscles contract and help prevent nausea and dehydration, among other health benefits.

Buy a Gatorade or other sports drink at the airport (remember, liquids aren’t allowed through security) or bring a packet of dissolvable electrolytes for your water.

Do not ask for water or ice

Despite the extensive cleaning procedures done on planes, there is one area that the FDA says still contains harmful amounts of bacteria: the water supply. According to the EPA in 2013, 12% of commercial airplanes tested positive for coliform in their water.

It’s important to stay hydrated while flying on a plane. However, make sure to bring your own water. If you must ask for water on a plane, see if the attendant has bottles of water instead. Following this tip will make sure you avoid any possible contamination from the plane’s water supply.

It is impossible to eliminate all chances of getting sick from an airplane, but these steps can help mitigate that risk. Picking a window seat, bringing electrolytes and wiping down your seat, among other choices, can greatly help in keeping you safe this holiday season.

With the end of the year approaching and people traveling more often, it’s important to stay healthy and protect your loved ones. At Midwest Express Clinic, yearly wellness checks and COVID testing are both available. Check in online at your closest location to speak with a provider today.

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