If you need to cross the country or travel overseas, you will likely do so by plane. Airplanes tie the world together, but not just for people. They also make excellent vectors for disease.
When contagious illnesses threaten the public health, airlines, airline attendants and air passengers often find themselves on the front lines. So, when you need to travel, you want to take every precaution. Here are seven things you can do to stay healthy:
Wash your hands
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), washing your hands is the best thing you can do to prevent the spread of contagions. This is just as true in the air as it is in your home or office.
Avoid touching your face
Eventually, you’re going to touch something after you wash your hands. There’s a chance you might pick up some germs. You don’t want to spread them to vulnerable areas, such as your nose, mouth or eyes.
Facemasks and gloves can help
If you’re sick, wearing a facemask and gloves may help prevent others from getting your illness. If you sit near a sick passenger or must work with one, a facemask and gloves offer you some limited protection.
Ask the airline to isolate sick passengers
Especially if your flight isn’t crowded, you may ask for the airline to adjust the seating. Creating physical space around a sick passenger reduces the chance the disease may spread.
Disinfect your area
Especially when there’s a risk of disease, airlines should disinfect planes carefully after each flight. As a passenger, you can bring your own disinfectant wipes and clean your seat and tray.
Touch fewer things
Avoid touching the media console, seat pouch and magazines that sick passengers may have touched before you. Avoid the bathroom if you can. If you must use the bathroom, clean your hands after you leave. Clean your hands after opening or closing the overhead compartment.
Drink water instead of alcohol or caffeine
Dehydration limits your body’s ability to fight off disease. Opting for water or juice instead of wine or coffee may help you stay hydrated and healthy.
Airlines also need to do their part
Airlines must obey a long list of rules and regulations meant to protect passengers and employees. This leads most airlines to take the threat of contagion very seriously.
Unfortunately, airlines don’t always respond to clear threats with the same seriousness and speed. When an airline’s inaction leads to your injury or illness, you may have grounds for legal action.