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Staying Healthy While Flying – Updated!

UPDATED- 6/15/2020

Now that our travel season is underway, I figured this would be the perfect time to share our favorite tips on staying healthy while on the plane. As all travellers know, when your in the airport your focused on getting to (or running) to make your next connection, scouting out the best place to eat, or reading the ever evolving arrival and departure flight board to see which gate your supposed to be at. It’s so easy to forget to put on hand sanitizer or just simply wash your hands. With as much traveling as my husband does all over the world, we’ve managed to determine a good game plan to keep him healthy. We definitely do the basics….hand sanitizer, cover you cough or sneeze, etc but did you know there are other things you can do while your on the plane that will keep you healthy? Lets discuss….

(New) Wear a face mask

The CDC and all airlines are now requiring passengers to wear face masks both in the airport and on the flight. There are a number of companies offering both reusable cloth and disposable face masks; you can even save by bundling. Face masks are key to protecting yourself and others from getting COVID-19 and are essential for travel at this time. When your in the TSA line, expect the TSA officer to ask you to pull down you mask so they can see your whole face for identification purposes. Don’t worry, you don’t have to take it all the way off. If you get ear strain from wearing masks, you can purchase ear extenders. The extenders attach to the ear loops of you face mask and are placed at the back of your head, thus preventing ear loop strain. Invest in a couple pair, they are awesome!

Get digital!

TSA frontline workers will now be wearing face masks and gloves to screen passengers. Additionally, plastic shields are now in place at podiums with a small window to slide ID and tickets for verification. In order to reduce contact, download your ticket to your airlines app! This provides a hands free option for the TSA officer to scan your ticket without them ever having to touch your personal items. There are also a number of different apps that you can use that support digital tickets, check out my favorite travel apps post for some options.

Wash your hands….often!

So this concept isn’t technically new but it is definitely worth saying. It’s so important to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds….yes you can spare 20 seconds!! 20 seconds is equivalent to singing the Happy Birthday song (in your head). Think about all the door handles, bins, armrests,etc you touch in the airport and you will see why you definitely need to wash your hands. Additionally, don’t touch your face (eyes, nose, and mouth) unless your hands are clean. These areas are by far the easiest way to introduce germs into your body. A sleep mask is a great trick for keeping your hands out of your eyes and helps you get more restful sleep.

Hand Sanitizer

Also not a new concept but it needs to be in your carry-on bag….so you can actually use it! Hand sanitizer should be at least 60% alcohol and should be used an as alternative to hand washing. This is quick and effective way to keep your hands clean and with all the wonderful scents they come you will smell lovely to the person sitting next to you. Update: You can now carry up to 12oz of hand sanitizer in your carry-on. This is great because you will need sanitize your hands more often in the absence of soap and water.

Pick the window seat

When flying, choose the window seat instead of the aisle. Once you’ve sat down, stay there and don’t get up. Why? People are pretty much moving/walking around on the flight (unless the fasten seat belt sign in on) which helps spread any possible germs to others. Additionally, people who sit in the window seat don’t get up….which reduces the number of people moving around….and also reduces your chance of coming in contact with any germs. Its a win-win. A word of caution: be sure to use the restroom BEFORE you sit in a window seat….because if you have to get to go to the bathroom it defeats the whole purpose. Update: most airlines are requiring the middle seat be left empty in order to comply with social distancing rules. This will make availability of the window seat smaller so book your seat ASAP!

Open your air vents

Open the air vents above your seat to improve ventilation and angel it to blow air AWAY from you. Basic science: germs can be spread via air circulation. Opening the air vent keeps air ventilation flowing so germs don’t get a chance to “stop” and land. You basically get a wind barrier from germs from an air vent. Clever!

Use Sanitizing Wipes

So this trick may get you some strange faces or raised eyebrows but it is totally worth it. Use sanitizing wipes to wipe down the tray table and arm rest. The tray table is the dirtiest place on the seat…..have you ever seen a flight attendant wipe them down….NO! Wipe it down yourself and save yourself from a headache or cold or whatever else is still hanging around. Sanitizing wipes are cheap ($1) and can be found everywhere so buy more than one and put them in your carry-on.

Stay Hydrated

Be sure to drink plenty of water. Basic science: drinking water allows your body’s natural immune fighting mechanisms to work properly and keep your mucous membranes in your nasal and throat passages from getting dry. It is recommended to drink 8 oz of water for every 1 hour of flight time but be sure to adjust this amount to fit your body’s needs. NOTE: Remember that window seat….in order for all this to work properly follow this process: 1) Drink water before the flight 2) Go to the bathroom before boarding or before take off 3) Sit in the window seat.

BYOE – Bring Your Own Entertainment

The second most germ place is the seat pocket full of magazines in front of you. The seat pocket get used for everything….food, tissues, diapers, trash, etc. Bring your own magazine, movies, games, etc on your next flight so you have don’t even have to touch the seat pocket. Head to the Surviving Chaos->Family section of my blog for easy entertainment ideas that you can make ahead for the whole family! If your looking for book recommendations, head to my Books of 2019 post or my Instagram Stories “Books” for some ideas. I add my latest reads to my Instagram page. Additionally, almost all commercial airlines offer from Wi-fi for movies, T.V shows and games you can stream on you laptop and/or tablet….so put it to good use. Just don’t forget to download their app so you can access it.

We hope you found these tips helpful; we know some of them are not traditional but they have kept us (and my husband) healthy on flights. Do you have any tips or tricks for staying healthy while flying? Let us know!

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