The best ways to avoid falling ill after a long-haul flight

2020-01-01 15:45
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Airplanes can be a true bacteria party in the sky. Germ paradise. And, on the flip-side a germaphobe's nightmare. 

But no one wants to reach their holiday or work destination after a 10 hour flight feeling under the weather.

We asked you on Twitter whether you ever get sick on a long-haul flight, you said: 

So, it's fair to say it's a pretty common occurrence. But are the surfaces that'll make you most susceptible to falling ill?

The tray table, the flush button behind the toilet, the over-head air vents and your seat belt can all contribute to you falling ill on a plane. Oh, and also that coughing passenger behind you barking spit all night long!


According to the results of a microbiological study commissioned by Travel Math, the tray table on the back of seats tested the highest for presence of bacteria with 2 155 colony-forming units per square inch. So what do you do to avoid you don't consume your in-flight meal with a side dish of bacteria?

Wipe down and wash up.

There are two keys ways to ensure you have as healthy a journey as you possibly can when contained in a cabin with hundreds of dangers for 10 hours straight:

Firstly, anti-bacterial wipes or gel is great for wiping surfaces like tray tables and flush buttons, down. While using the gel on your hands or purely just washing your hands regularly is another effective way to protect yourself from falling ill on a plane, says Travel and Leisure.

READ: Why airlines can kick off sick passengers before a flight

Should you consider wearing a mask? 

You shouldn't be flying when you are already feeling ill before a flight. However, if you have to fly, then wear a surgical mask to protect those around you, i.e. your fellow healthy passengers who would rather not catch your cold or flu.

But if you're healthy and really scared of catching something on a plane, it could also be advisable to wear a mask in case you sit next to someone who has something that's still contagious. 

Though, Frommer's notes that if you avoid touching too many surfaces in the bathroom in particular, and if you wipe down your tray table area and wash your hands after touching commonly used surfaced, you should be just fine. Unless you have someone with something resembling the plague sitting next to you that is...

In that case, you're screwed.

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