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Tips to avoid getting sick on a flight

There is nothing worse than getting sick on a flight, with a cold settling in. But, hold on a second, there are steps you can take to walk out as germ free as possible with a calm and pleasant flight. Here are some tips to help you stay fresh and healthy on a plane.

Don’t drink the tap water 

Tips to avoid getting sick on a flightFirst of all – STOP DRINKING TAP WATER! In 2007, The Wall Street Journal conducted a study from 14 different international and domestic flights. As per their results, traces of everything from Salmonella to tiny insect eggs were found in the water.

Almost all 14 samples contained bacteria levels that reached “tens, sometimes hundreds of times above the US government limits.”

Skip getting any ice in your drinks

According to CNN News, there are flights that use their own own ice-making techs and will actually use the water from the airplane tanks to make the cubes.

Since tanks are kept small to maintain a light weight, they can be refilled at foreign airports where water standards can vary greatly.

Avoid using the blankets and pillows

Tips to avoid getting sick on a flightIn reference to another investigation by The Wall Street Journal, airlines were found to wash their blankets and pillows every 5 to 30 days.

And the freshly washed blankets would only be set out for the first flights of the day, hence leaving customers boarding towards the end of the day, at risk.  

Don’t touch the tray table

Tips to avoid getting sick on a flightShockingly, the tray table is one of the dirtiest parts of a plane. It has been revealed by flight attendants, that these trays are only washed once a day, whereas some have even seen parents changing their children’s dirty diapers on them. YUK! 

The best thing to do is to wipe it down with a sanitizer and absolutely avoid eating directly off of it.

Order a hot meal

Tips to avoid getting sick on a flightThough companies have been improving their standards, the safest bet is to consume hot food as the heat is more likely to kill off unwanted germs.

Avoid aisle seats

Tips to avoid getting sick on a flightAccording to scientists, sitting on the aisle seat leaves you more at risk of being exposed to germs as it puts you closer to passengers who are regularly coming and going from the restroom. As a result, they pass by touching your seat thus leaving behind germs and bacteria. 

Use the air vent above your seat

According to experts, the cabin air filters capture up to 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses, even though it’s common to think turning on the air vents will actually recycle germs.

Moreover, it is recommended by doctors to turn on the vent above your head to a low or medium pressure, helping to create enough current to keep germs away.

Take precautions when using the restroom

Tips to avoid getting sick on a flightAccording to a study, it is revealed that while bacteria lives for shorter periods of time on plastic surfaces, these types of surfaces transmit germs to hands much more quickly. 

Therefore, when heading to the bathroom, make sure to use a tissue to open the handle and close the lid of the toilet seat when flushing to avoid the increased spreading of germs. 

Finally, don’t use the water to brush your teeth and try to use sanitizer to clean your hands instead, since the same water in the airplane tanks is used in the restroom.

Use a nasal spray

Nasal sprays are made of saline concentration, which help add moisture to your noise. As airplane cabins can dry the nose out, nasal sprays help to increase the flow of the tiny hairs in noses that block out germs.

Don’t drink coffee or tea

Tips to avoid getting sick on a flightIt has been known that the coffee and tea that is brewed on board typically doesn’t reach temperatures that are hot enough to be able to kill off bacteria present in the airplane water. So, better to avoid coffee and tea and just go for a regular drink.

Don’t place your items in the seat-back pocket

Tips to avoid getting sick on a flightBesides the possibility that the seat-back pocket can be filled with anything from used tissues to trash, studies have revealed that armrests and seat pockets are the worst areas to touch since bacteria can survive there for days.

Ask to change your seat if the person next to you is sick

While this might not be possible on fuller flights, if there are open seats on the plane, asking to be moved due to someone close by who is sick isn’t uncommon.

Stay hydrated

Tips to avoid getting sick on a flightDrink ample amounts of water to avoid the dry air found in airplane cabins. Furthermore, staying hydrated will help prevent dehydration that can cause unwanted headaches, cramps, and fatigue.

Just make sure to bring your own bottled water or ask for a bottled water in-flight and avoid having to drink tap.

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Hey, I'm Isra Shams, the Managing Editor at Brands Magazine & FHM Pakistan. My passion is writing and I want to make a difference in the world with the power of the pen!