Do these 6 things to avoid getting sick on a plane

It's officially the holiday travel season, which means it's time to take better care of yourself so you can have Christmas dinner at your parents' house without a bag of crumpled tissues. The surge in travelers during the holidays means a surge in the number of reported illnesses, making us all more vulnerable, especially when you travel by air. Thankfully, there are things you can do to avoid getting sick on a plane, and they're not difficult as long as you remember to actually do them.

Although we may not realize it, there are some things we do that make us more susceptible to bacterial infections. Bustle spoke with Dr. Jen Caudle, a family physician and associate professor at Rowan University College of Osteopathic Medicine, about understanding not only how to fight germs on airplanes, but also how to change our behavior to reduce our exposure to germs on airplanes. First place. While these tips and advice are great during the winter holiday travel season, they're generally great guidelines to keep with you year-round. That said, you need to incorporate these tips into your basic travel hygiene habits.

wash hands throughout the day


Dr. Caudle believes you should wash your hands often, not just when you think your hands are dirty. Wash before and after meals, before and after going to the toilet, after shaking hands, and after touching luggage or public doors. Keep a moisturizer in your bag and wash frequently with antibacterial soap.

Don't touch your face at all

Dr. Caudle tells Bust to avoid touching your face at all costs when traveling, "especially your eyes, nose, and mouth to minimize the chance of contracting viruses and bacteria." If you're going to wear makeup while traveling, use tools to avoid direct contact with skin. If you're using lip balm on the go, make sure to use a squeeze tube so you don't dip your fingers into the balm, and be sure to wash your hands first if you must touch your face.

Carry hand sanitizer with you


Don’t go anywhere without hand sanitizer. You can rely on it on the go when you don't have access to the bathroom sink. But even after you wash your hands in the airplane restroom, you should use hand sanitizer to kill whatever remains. You can also put hand sanitizer on a napkin and wipe down tray tables, armrests, windows, and other controls or buttons that must be used.

Don't touch things you don't need to touch

Dr. Caudle says if you can "minimize contact with airplane tray tables, bathroom door handles, and other high-traffic areas," you absolutely should. If you're not comfortable doing this, use a napkin or cloth to do this so you're not in direct contact with these germ hotspots.

bring your own


If you can, bring your own pillows and blankets to give you more control over what you come into contact with. If you can prepare a healthy meal at home and serve it as a meal on board rather than a provided meal, this will also help limit exposure. Using your own in-flight entertainment system also reduces your contact with germy surfaces that may not be cleaned between flights.

Pay attention to your immune system too

"Stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and eat nutritious foods to keep your body healthy," Dr. Caudle told Bustel. It's important to keep your immune system in good shape before traveling on your vacation. The stronger your body is, the better it can fight off germs it comes into contact with. Now is a great time to start preparing to combat winter germs, so adjust your diet to include foods that support your immune system (garlic, citrus, leafy greens, mushrooms), put down your phone earlier each night, drink more water, and yes, even more .


Dr. Jen Caudle, family physician, associate professor at Rowan University College of Osteopathic Medicine