Booking with Delta Flights or another airline carrier is the quickest way to reach far off destinations. And for some people, traveling by air is the only way they can see their family. But although flying is convenient and fast, being in a tight confined space for several hours increases your risk of infection.
The number of cold and flu cases increases in the winter, and if you fly during this time of the year, you may hear non-stop coughing and sneezing. You cannot stop a sick person from boarding an airplane, but you can take steps to avoid germs on a plane.
1. Keep hand sanitizer with you. Stash hand sanitizer in your carryon bag or purse. Alcohol-based sanitizer can kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria, thus lowering your risk of an infection. Use sanitizer whenever soap is not available, such as when you’re about to enjoy a snack on the airplane. Be sure to wash or sanitize your hands once you leave the airport. This way, you remove any germs that you might pick up from surfaces, such as doors, water fountains and sinks.
2. Carrying disinfecting wipes. Take a few moments to wipe down your armrest and your tray table. The person who sat in your seat on the previous flight may have been sick. He could have sneezed or coughed on these surfaces, which increases your chance of becoming ill. Wiping these surfaces with disinfecting wipes kills germs and bacteria, thus contributing to a safer flight.
3. Increase ventilation around your seat. A passenger behind you might sneeze without covering his mouth. Small saliva droplets can travel by air (up to six feet) and land near your seat. To keep the air by your seat germ-free, turn on the air vent above your seat. Position the vent directly over your face. This increase air flow around you and helps push germs away from your face.
4. Wear a mask. If you’re traveling in the middle of a terrible cold and flu season, don’t be afraid to wear a mask over your nose and mouth. Germs and viruses can be airborne. A mask provides bonus protection. This is especially beneficial if you’re headed on vacation or going to a business meeting. In this case, you cannot afford to be sick.
5. Don’t touch your hand or face. While traveling by plane, make a conscious effort not to touch your face and mouth. If you have germs on your hands, touching your face increases your risk of infection. This is especially important if you do not have hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes.
6. Increase vitamin intake. If you know about an upcoming trip in advance, increase your intake of vitamins, such as vitamin C and zinc. These vitamins can give your immune system a boost and help you fight off illnesses.
No one is invincible, and while there is no way to protect yourself 100% against germs and viruses on a plane, these steps can significantly lower your risk of an illness.