Advertisement

Don’t Get Sick From a Plane Flight

Don’t Get Sick From a Plane Flight

If, this holiday season, you end up on a flight infested with snakes, like the 2006 action thriller Snakes on a Plane, the last thing you’re going to worry about is bacteria lurking on tray tables or seats. But since snakes aren’t going to show up on your flight (no one showed at the movie either) and Samuel L. Jackson won’t be there to help you get rid of potentially infectious microbes, it’s bacteria in the airline cabin that you should be concerned about.

Most airlines do a pretty good job of keeping passenger jets clean and the EPA requires airlines to periodically test for coliform and E. coli bacteria. But considering how many people fly in every cabin, every day, and that bacteria can survive for days on an airplane, it’s a good idea to have a plan for dealing with Bacteria on Your Plane.

Always bring alcohol-based hand sanitizer (only 3.4 ounces of carry-on liquid) and wipes. Use them to clean hands after touching the seat pocket. Also, wipe down tray tables. You never know when they were last used as a baby-changing station. And sanitize before and after eating meals. In the restroom, super-flush toilets can spew germs (especially on a bumpy flight), so sanitize after you visit. Remember to sanitize kids’ hands too.

Other smart moves: Only accept drinks from a sealed container. And if you get stuck sitting next to someone who’s sneezing or coughing, create a barrier between you using the vent airstream from the panel above your seat.

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

How to Stay Healthy in an Office Full of Sick People
How to Stay Healthy in an Office Full of Sick People
During the height of flu season, you'll likely find yourself surrounded by coughing, sniffling and sneezing coworkers. And close working quarters alon...
Read More
What causes flu to develop into pneumonia?
HealthyWomenHealthyWomen
It's not unusual for the flu to lead to pneumonia. These cases of pneumonia result when bacteria, vi...
More Answers
7 Cold and Flu Myths—Debunked
7 Cold and Flu Myths—Debunked7 Cold and Flu Myths—Debunked7 Cold and Flu Myths—Debunked7 Cold and Flu Myths—Debunked
Get the facts on the cold and flu and keep your family healthy this season.
Start Slideshow
What Are Natural Treatments for Cold and Flu?
What Are Natural Treatments for Cold and Flu?