Did you know that many airlines companies only wash their pillows and blankets every five days? It’s even been reported that some airlines only do so once a month. If you’re like me, you are probably feeling a little queasy, and for good reason—people are getting sick in the air! From bacteria-infested seat pockets to the lavatory’s coffin-like features, air travel has become a haven for germs. So, how are we supposed to fly and still stay healthy? Well, if wearing an oxygen mask is a bit over the top for you, I recommend the following.
Your best defense is a good offense
Be sure to board the plane healthy. Prior to your next flight be sure to get adequate sleep and be hydrated. Sleep deprived individuals are more prone to infection than those who sleep 6-8 hours a night. Staying hydrated will assist in keeping your respiratory tract moist and allow for a better defense against bacteria. I recommend consuming half of your body weight in ounces of water daily.
Don't Order Coffee or Tea
In a 2004 report, water samples from some airlines tested positive for E. coli and to make matters worse, the coffee and tea brewed on planes is not hot enough to kill E. coli. Instead, opt for bottled water or simply pack your own refreshments.
Avoid using the Seat Pocket
Did you know that cold and influenza viruses can survive for hours on fabric and tissues? And people store everything from used tissues to chewed gum in the seat pocket. Plus, how many times do you think that airline instructional booklet or shopping guide has been sneezed or coughed on? Use the under-seat storage or toss your personal belongings into a large Zip-lock bag that you can place inside the seat pocket for protection.
Clean the table
Your meal tray has been used as a changing table. You may have even seen this yourself, I have. Flight attendants have witnessed everything from messy diapers being placed on the tray to passengers using it to wipe their mucus-covered hands after a sneeze. So, be sure to carry a disinfectant wipe to clean off your tray table before using it and never, ever eat directly off of the table!
Shut the Lid!
When nature calls, I cannot ask you to avoid the bathroom. But, please remember to close the toilet lid. That spraying water can release germs into the air and with you trapped in that tiny box, you're sure to be inhaling the germs of the user before you. How fun.
Don't touch any part of your face
Be sure to keep your hands away from your mouth and face after adjusting the volume on your armrest or anywhere else. Wash your hands during, and post flight so you’re not walking around with the germs from hundreds of people who have sat in that very seat before you.