If you’re traveling by air this holiday season, you may be dreading the recirculated air inside the plane, certain it will give you a cold. Not so, says Jonathan E. Fielding, M.D., Director of Public Health in L.A. County. “On airplanes, we are susceptible to disease from other passengers sitting near us,” he says. “And bacteria and viruses can be found on tray tables, seat-back pockets and reused airline’s pillows and blankets.”
Dry cabin air and fatigue can also increase your risk of getting sick. Here are tips from the Department of Public Health for staying healthy when you fly:
• Drink water to stay hydrated.
• Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
• Clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand cleanser.
• Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing.
• Avoid the pocket in the back of the seat.
• Bring your own pillow and blanket.
• Open the overhead air vent to circulate the air around you.
• Change seats, if possible, when sitting next to someone with a cold.
• Raise concerns if the air circulation is shut off for an extended period of time.
Don’t have a travel blanket? Here’s a link to my favorite pillow-blankie combo.