Ensuring Your Health While Flying: Nine Expert Tips for a Clean and Safe Journey
For individuals with concerns about cleanliness during air travel, whether due to specific health considerations or recent pandemic experiences, navigating the transportation, accommodation, and interactions involved in traveling can be a considerable challenge. While not everyone may have an extreme aversion to germs, it's perfectly reasonable to feel uneasy about the cleanliness of airplane environments, especially given the close quarters and recycled air. In this article, we'll provide some valuable tips to help you stay healthy and avoid getting sick on an airplane.
- Bring a Reusable Water Bottle One simple but effective measure is to carry a refillable water bottle with you or purchase one at the airport before your flight. Some airlines serve water in cups, which may not be as hygienic. There have been reports of airplane water containing a significant amount of bacteria, so it's wise to be cautious. While you can't bring your own water through security, you can fill your reusable water bottle at a drinking fountain before boarding.
- Always Have Hand Sanitizer Handy Hand sanitizer is a fundamental tool for germ protection, especially during travel. When you can't easily access soap and water, hand sanitizer comes to the rescue. Make it a habit to use hand sanitizer when you first settle into your seat, as you're likely to have touched various surfaces, including luggage, seats, seat belts, and overhead bin handles, which may harbor germs.
- Use Overhead Bins for Storage Consider stowing your personal items in the overhead bins instead of under the seat in front of you. When you place your belongings under the seat, they share space with the floor, which accumulates dirt from passengers' shoes. Opting for the overhead bins can help keep your items cleaner.
- Avoid the Middle Seat While there are numerous reasons to avoid the middle seat, health concerns can be an additional factor. The most significant risk of contracting illnesses on planes typically comes from fellow passengers. By avoiding the middle seat and choosing an aisle or window seat, you decrease your chances of sitting next to someone who may transmit an illness.
- Sanitize Your Surroundings Carry a small packet or Ziploc bag of sanitizing wipes to clean your immediate area. Wipe down surfaces such as the tray table, seatback pocket, armrest, seat belt, and even the headrest. It's unlikely that these areas are thoroughly sanitized between flights, so taking this extra precaution can help keep you healthy.
- Embrace Wet Wipes Wet wipes are a more gentle alternative to heavy-duty cleaning wipes and can be used for cleaning various surfaces and even refreshing your face and hands during and after the flight.
- Bring Your Own Blanket Consider packing your own blanket for added peace of mind. While airlines have likely improved their blanket hygiene practices since the pandemic, bringing your own blanket ensures you have a clean and comfortable option.
- Wear a Mask Although airlines may no longer require masks, it's still a good idea to wear one to protect yourself from airborne germs, especially in confined spaces like airplanes. High-quality masks, such as N95 or KN95, provide superior protection compared to surgical or cloth masks.
- Choose Easy-to-Clean Shoes Opt for shoes that are easy to clean upon returning home, such as rain boots, sandals, or combat boots made of materials that can be wiped down. Cleaning your shoes post-flight prevents you from carrying germs into your living space.
By following these expert tips, you can significantly reduce the risk of getting sick on an airplane and enjoy a healthier and more comfortable travel experience.