Air travel and 5 Precautions to avoid Illness

5 Precautions you can take to guard against infection and illness when traveling by air

How many times have we either experienced it ourselves or heard someone tell us they returned from a trip only to become sick 24 hours later? It’s a well known fact that we are much more likely to catch a cold after air travel.

Norovirus, flu, c. diff, MRSA, E. coli…

Having just returned from a trip south, I paid close attention to the people in the airport and on the aircraft to catch a glimpse of what might be a potential exposure to infection:

A young, frazzled mother not notice her daughter dragging her blanket on the floor of the aircraft as they searched for their seat.

A father watched as his son crawled around on the terminal floor and then handed him crackers for a snack.

Please, take precautions as you travel:

  1. Regularly washing your hands (and correctly!)
  2. Take care to not touch those high-contact areas and then touch your face and mouth. (rails, seat back trays, bathrooms, chair arms, drinking fountains, in-flight magazines are found to be some of the dirtiest areas)
  3. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated (preferably bottled during travel).
  4. Wipe your phone with an electronic approved wipe or spray while traveling (and don’t use it in the john… you know who you are).   
  5. Close the toilet lid before flushing.

Traveling by air anytime, much less at the very busy holiday season, can bring us in contact with germs and bacteria (many of which can survive on surfaces for days or weeks), leading to a higher risk of infection. TravelMath conducted a study, which gives us insight as to where these pathogens are most often found.

Holidays are especially hectic and crazy and fun; Do what you can to remain healthy, happy, and engaged… and enjoy your travel!

A couple of websites offering tips for safe travel:

Travel alerts here:

Helpful travel tips from the CDC:


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