8 Ways to Stay Healthy When Flying and Avoid Getting Sick on Your Travels

8 Ways to Stay Healthy When Flying and Avoid Getting Sick on Your Travels

Have you ever wondered about the germs and bacteria on airplanes?

I don’t think of myself as a germaphobe, but have you considered the quality of air and the cleanliness of airplane cabins?

A study was done a few years ago to look at the dirtiest surfaces typically found on airplanes. Here’s the list – with the worst offenders at the top.

  1. Tray tables
  2. Air vents
  3. Lavatory flush buttons
  4. Seatbelt buckles
  5. Bathroom stall locks

Far and away the dirtiest surface is the tray table, which is ten times more susceptible to germs and dirt than the next three surfaces. The air vents, lavatory buttons, and seat belt buckles all had roughly the same amount of contamination. At the bottom were the bathroom locks, which had about a third the amount of dirt/germs as the others.

I’ve often heard the air quality in planes isn’t very good, and it makes sense that an enclosed cabin is a great place for germs and bacteria to hang out. It also stands to reason that with a cabin full of people and limited airflow, germs and airborne illnesses like the flu have a chance to thrive.

How to avoid getting sick on planes

Things get even worse if takeoff is delayed and the air ventilation system is off. Studies have shown a great likelihood of illness among passengers when sitting in non-ventilated aircraft for 3 hours or more.

So, with the prevalence of germs on planes, here are eight things you can do to help avoid them and the potential sickness they can bring:

  1. Get a flu shot – Usually a good idea anyway.
  2. Stay hydrated – This helps give some protection against germs.
  3. Wash your hands before boarding.
  4. An earlier flight is better, as planes typically get thoroughly cleaned overnight.
  5. Bring your own compact travel blanket and pillow if you use those.
  6. Wipe down your tray table and other surfaces with a packable disinfectant wipe.
  7. When using the bathroom, avoid touching a lot of surfaces and use a paper towel to exit the door.
  8. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

So there you have it, a rundown on some things you can do to help avoid germs and sickness when traveling.

Randall is the founder of Keokee Travel Gear. When not trying to conquer his anxiety surrounding social media, he dreams of traveling to and photographing exotic places around the world. Oh, and he dreams of playing golf at Pebble Beach.

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