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Air Travel And Airborne Illness

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Airborne illness and air travel simply go hand in hand, and anyone that travels often will tell you so. The problem with air travel is that you are talking about thousands and over the course of a year, millions of people who travel in the same aircrafts. Simply put, there are germs everywhere in an aircraft and it doesn’t matter how well the crews clean them, these germs cannot be removed because they are not just on things, they are in the air.

Every year millions of people come down with the flu or common colds after traveling on an aircraft. Though a good number of these people may not correlate the two, the likelihood that they picked up their cold or flu bug on the aircraft is very high. The problem with airplanes is that many people get on and off them all the time. Some of these people may be sick, some may just be recovering, and some may be sick and not even realize it. When we sneeze, cough, eat, laugh, or even talk we are emitting our germs into the air and the items around us. Obviously, when you are talking about an aircraft you are talking about a small place where the air is just recycled over and over again, allowing the germs the perfect environment to meet up with bodies that are just waiting to get sick! Air travel is one of the easiest ways to get sick, and for many, there is no way around it!

An obvious way to avoid the airborne illnesses on board an aircraft is just to stay away from them! Though, for many this isn’t really an option, as they have to travel for business or personal reasons. So, the best thing you can do is avoid air travel when you are recovering from an illness or any time you feel as though your immune system may not be at its best. Any time your immune system has already been compromised, you are even more likely to contract an airborne illness. Of course, this isn’t always an option, either!

There are a few medications that have come on the market that actually help build up your immune system and fight off airborne illnesses that you may pick up. Visiting your local pharmacy and starting yourself on these over the counter medications may be a great way to travel and avoid getting sick. Another option, though not very attractive, is to wear a facemask. Some experts say that this isn’t all that effective, but if you continually contract airborne illnesses when you travel, it might be worth a try. You might not look nearly as attractive as you usually do, but you’re on an airplane, who do you have to impress?

In addition to fighting off the airborne illnesses, you might want to think about everything you touch on board the aircraft. If there are germs and bacteria in the air, you can bet all the surfaces are contaminated as well. Don’t worry, you don’t have to pull out the latex gloves to get on board, you just might want to bring along some antibacterial gel or spray that you can apply to your hands before you eat, before and after you go to the restroom, and when you get off the plane. This might help you from ingesting germs that you pick up off of surfaces on the plane.

In short, the best way you can avoid getting sick on an airplane, short of not getting on, is to protect yourself and take precautions. If you can help it, don’t go to the restroom where there are usually more germs than just about everyone else. Avoid touching surfaces if you can help it, and use some of that antibacterial gel, lotion, or spray to cleanse your hands. Take advantage of great medications that can be bought over the counter and may save you the time and energy that you have to dedicate to recovering from a cold. 

Even if you take all of these steps you might find that you still get sick, sometimes it just cannot be avoided. And, you just might be one of those people that boards an aircraft sick without knowing it! You might actually be bringing those awful airborne germs aboard! Just do the best you can to avoid getting sick without compromising the enjoyable elements of traveling.

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