Don't Catch A Cold – 6 Tricks To Keep Germs Away When Traveling By Airplane

Posted on: 28 August 2014

Traveling on an airplane is an adventurous way to start your vacation, until a couple of days after arriving at your destination you start feeling the familiar signs of a cold. In fact, one study found that a person is 100 times more likely to catch a cold when traveling by airplane than during their normal daily life. If you can't afford to do all your traveling by private charter, then keep reading to learn a few tricks to reduce your risk of catching a cold when flying in an airplane:

1. Be healthy and hydrated.

Before you even step foot on the plane, make sure you've had plenty of rest over the past couple of weeks and you're well hydrated. Studies have shown that sleep-deprived people are more susceptible to contracting an illness than people who consistently sleep between 6 and 8 hours a night. Additionally, when your body is well-hydrated, your respiratory tract is moist and can better defend itself against bacteria.

2. Don't touch the seat pocket.

That seat pocket in front of you that's filled with magazines should be off limits to anyone who wants to avoid contact with germs and bacteria. Those shopping catalogs and safety instructional booklets have been touched and handled by hundreds of people who have probably sneezed and coughed on them. And they are never cleaned. People also like to store used tissues and other trash in there until the flight attendant comes around with a trash bag. Since cold viruses and other bacteria can survive on indoor surfaces for more than 7 days, your best form of defense is to not go near that seat pocket. If you must use the pocket, then place your belongings in a sealed plastic bag before sliding it into the seat pocket.

3. Stick with bottled water.

Airplane water is notorious for being less than ideal. Many times a plane fills up its water reserve while in countries that don't have as high standards as the US. Further, the coffee and tea usually doesn't get hot enough to kill any bacteria in the water used to make the beverages. The best way to avoid germs in this situation is to bring your own drinks or buy bottled water.

4. Always clean the tray as soon as possible.

Once those trays go up at the end of your flight, they probably won't be opened again until the next passenger sits down in that seat. If a flight attendant does go through and clean the trays, it will be a quick wipe before moving to the next one. People have used these trays for everything from changing dirty diapers to holding used tissues. Bring a few disinfectant wipes with you when traveling by airplane to clean the tray. And never eat directly off the tray.

5. Keep your hands off your face.

If you take a moment to think about all the things you've touched since you last washed your hands, you may be amazed at the number of places that you have come into contact with germs and bacteria. The last thing you want to do is transfer those germs to your mouth, nose, or eyes. That's just like giving yourself a cold or the flu. To keep germs away, wash your hands a few times during the flight and as soon as you get off the airplane.

While talking about your face, don't use the airline's pillow and blanket. The second you rest your head on one of those little pillows, you're putting germs very close to your mouth, nose, and eyes. Making it easy for the germs to enter your body and have a party. Most airlines only clean them every 2 to 30 days. Either bring your own, or don't use them at all.

6. Always close the toilet lid before you flush.

It's sometimes impossible to avoid the bathroom, no matter how much you may not want to squeeze into that little pace. But after you do, always close the lid before flushing. Otherwise, miniscule particles of water, germs, and bacteria will spray out into the air and will ultimately end up in your nose.

Following these six tricks will greatly reduce your risk of catching a cold when traveling by airplane, especially if you have to fly coach because you can't afford a private charter. Without worrying about germs during your flight, you can instead focus on the plane ride and start planning the details of your trip once you reach your destination.