How To Avoid Getting The Flu On An Aeroplane

Everyone knows there's no better place to catch the flu than on an aeroplane on your way to that holiday you've been looking forward to for months.

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You're in a tight quarters sharing air, which means there's a good chance if someone near you happens to be flying while sick, you're going to be doing the same when you hop on your return flight in a few days.

Aeroplanes are always filled with germs, and during cold and flu season those germs are even worse - in some cases even deadly.

While getting a flu shot is your best defence against getting the actual flu, Travel and Leisure notes there are a few other things you can do to prevent getting sick in the air.

Pick a Window Seat

I know, you always sit in the aisle so you have easy access to the bathroom. The aisle seat is usually amazing, but while it gives you easy bathroom access it also gives you access to the germs of every single person walking down the aisle. At the very least you're going to get exposed to all those while everyone is boarding, you're also going to get exposed to everyone's germs as they walk by your awesome aisle seat to get to the bathroom to blow their nose for the 50th time. A window seat reduces the number of people you're exposed to on the plane, which can be a decent line of defence against getting sick.

Wait to Board

Along those same lines, now is not the time to jockey for a better boarding position in a crowded line. If everyone is waiting to board in what looks more like a mob than a single-file line, hang back and board at the end of your group. Large, tightly packed together groups of people are not your friend right now.

Stay Hydrated

Your best line of defence against airborne diseases is the mucus membranes in your nose and mouth. When those start to dry out, something that happens often on planes, you're making it much easier for you to catch a respiratory virus.

Try packing a small bottle of nasal spray and lubricating your nose before you board (and maybe mid-flight if it's a long one).

Turn on Your Overhead Vent

I had actually heard you shouldn't do this, but T+L suggests turning your overhead vent on when you board (this NBC article does a good job of explaining how aeroplane air circulation works). The idea being that the air vent improves air circulation and can move germs that come into your vicinity away from you.

Wipe Everything Down

I do this on every plane I get on year round. That tray table is gross and I assure you, no one is giving it a thorough cleaning before you get on board (unless you're taking the first flight of the day, which can be a solid choice for a number of reasons).

Why Early Morning Flights Are The Best Flights

Next time you go to book a flight you might want to look at the early-morning options first. Getting out of bed to make that 6am might be a struggle, but Travel and Leisure suggests that you should exclusively fly in the early morning. The reason? You'll have a much better chance of getting to your destination.

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The person who sat in your seat on the last flight could have used it to place everything from their child's dirty nappies to their own snotty tissues, and now you're going to use it for peanuts. Wipe that bad boy down. I purchased a small package of antibacterial wipes from the pharmacy that I keep in my book bag. I always wipe down the tray table, armrests and seat belt when I get on board and offer a wipe to my row mates in case they want to do the same. Assume the grossest person on the plane was sitting in your seat during the last flight and act accordingly.


    I planned to do this before my last trip overseas, but we forgot the wipes.
    A day after arriving I was sick for 4-5 days, then my wife got sick for 4-5 days. Then our holiday time had ended just as we got better. I am going to be a germaphobe before the next trip to try and prevent a repeat.

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