With all coughing and sniffling (and even the occasional ‘oink’) around this winter, travelers need to be super conscious to keep themselves healthy. Here are 13 of the best “travel healthy” tips for warding off a cough, the flu or H1N1 while flying:
1. Bring your own inflatable neck pillow, and use your coat as a blanket. Airlines may not always change their blankets and pillows between flights.
2. Hand sanitizer – just a small amount, 100ml (3oz) or less for the plane, and use it like it’s going out of fashion. Then keep your hands away from your mouth, eyes and nose.
3. Rub a little of an antibiotic ointment or a nasal gel on the inside of your nose to prevent you from inhaling airborne germs.
4. Kleenex – store them close at hand, but not in the seatback in front of you.
5. Antibacterial wipes – use them to clean anything you may rest your hands on, the tray top, the arm rest, the blind, the door handle in the toilet. In fact, think of all the surfaces on a plane as being about as hygienic as a public toilet. (Don’t be sensitive airlines – this is not a reflection on you – just on that tricky, sticky bacteria)
6. Basic medical supplies – Tylenol, Advil or Aspirin.
7. A bottle of water. Or two. Or three. The recycled air in a cabin can really dry out the mucous membranes. An alcoholic beverage won’t help here; it’ll dehydrate you. You need to keep the mucous membranes moist to stay fighting fit.
8. A fizzing Vitamin C tablet that you can plink into water during the flight.
9. A small spray bottle that you can fill with water to mist and rehydrate your face throughout the flight.
10. A packet of berries or nuts, anything that’s packed full of vitamins and will keep you away from some of the more sinful in-flight snack options. Sugary or fatty treats will make you feel sluggish and won’t help you ward off a cold.
11. Turn the air vent on and towards your chest to prevent germs being blown into your face.
12. Try to fly on less busy days if possible. Fewer flyers mean fewer chances of catching flu. Monday, midweek or Saturday flights will tend not to be as busy as those at on Fridays, Sundays or Mondays.
13. Finally, if one of your fellow passengers is obviously suffering from a cold ask the flight attendant to seat you elsewhere. Now you know this is not always going to be possible, won’t win you any popularity contests, and you may feel unneighbourly and unfriendly, but it’s worth a try, rather than waking up sniffing the next morning.