Reasons why you get sick traveling on a plane, and helpful tips on how to avoid it
With the holiday season quickly approaching, millions of people are already planning their holiday trips. With so much of the awareness and preparedness being placed on staying safe from terrorism, you may tend to forget planning for the safety of your health while flying.
Most people believe that a plane is a cesspool of germs, believing the air quality is to blame for the inevitable cold or flu you get after flying. The truth of the matter is, you do have a higher risk of getting sick when traveling, but it’s not for the reasons you think, and there are ways to protect yourself.
REASONS YOU GET SICK WHILE TRAVELING ON A PLANE
- You are tightly packed in, like a can of sardines, therefore you have a higher risk of contact with somebody else who is sick
- The humidity level on a plane is 25%, whereas on ground it is usually around 35%. This causes the mucus membranes to dry out. Since the mucus membranes are our first line of defense against getting sick, this raises the likelihood that you will catch something
- People tend to drink more coffee and alcohol while flying. These beverages dehydrate you, and again, raises the likelihood that you will get sick
- Jet lag can also raise the risk of getting sick because it lowers your immunity
The air quality on a plane is actually better than on the ground. According to a report on the Today Show, www.nbc.com, the air circulation on a plane is 50%, and sterile, it goes through filters which filter out all but 3% of germs, and it changes and circulates 15 to 30 times an hour, as opposed to an office building, which generally changes 12 times per hour.
There are also many precautions you can take to help lower your risk of getting sick while flying.
PRECAUTIONS YOU CAN TAKE TO HELP AVOID GETTING SICK
- Stay hydrated, but only drink bottled water. The quality of water on a plane isn’t so hot. Make sure to remember the ice as well. Drinking bottled water won’t help if you have them put ice from the plane in it.
- Don’t drink coffee or alcohol. Remember it dehydrates you
- Move around a lot. This will limit your contact with people in your vicinity who may be sick. It’s also good for your veins and gets your circulation going
- Wash your hands often
Another good idea may be to take a little kit with you containing items that can help ward off those germs. In the kit include: moisturizer, saline nasal spray, eye drops and hand sanitizers.
We all look forward to going away, especially during the holiday season as it means we are probably going to see loved ones. The last thing you want is to get there sick.