Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, boarding a flight can be a stressful experience. It wasn’t always this way but overbooked planes and enhanced security measures have definitely affected us in multiple ways.
Once concern many fliers have relates to staying healthy as they embark on their journey. While you can’t guarantee that you won’t pick up some illness, there are some ways to protect yourself while you’re shoulder to shoulder with other travelers.
Bring Sanitizer and Wipes
You will be touching a lot of things as you make your way through the airport—and everyone else will be too. You may not be personally concerned about catching the latest virus but when we all do our part to contain the spread of illnesses, we protect those who are most vulnerable.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to carry a small bottle of sanitizer to clean your hands after touching common surfaces. It’s especially important to do this before touching your faces or eating.
Along the same lines, bring a wipe on the plane for things such as the armrest, tray, and seat belt. You might be tempted to dismiss this as paranoia but it can save you from getting sick on the vacation you’ve saved for months to enjoy, or from passing something onto the ailing grandmother you’re visiting. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Soothe Your Ears
When you’re on a plane, there are two ways in which your poor ears can be assaulted. The first is due to changes in cabin pressure and the other relates to the noises you will undoubtedly encounter.
Many people swear by chewing gum during takeoff and landing to prevent pain or discomfort in their ears. With that problem managed, be sure you packed some earbuds (or plugs) so that you can enjoy some peace and quiet on your flight. Bonus points if you listen to soothing music to reduce your stress level since that can boost your immune system!
Pick the Window Seat
Even if you don’t care about the ability to look at the world from the clouds, there are several advantages to securing a window seat. Even experts agree that this is the best seat on a plane if you’re trying to stay healthy!
If someone is coughing or even if they are just trying to chat you up, the window seat gives you a reprieve. You can politely turn towards the wall (feigning sleep, if you must) and use it as a protective barrier. No more unwanted contact!
Wear Socks Through Security
One of the most annoying things about going through security is having to take your shoes off. Thousands (or even millions) of people walk through these areas coming from all over the world. This is not the time to be barefoot.
Even if you take them off afterward, be sure to wear socks as you go through the security checkpoint. While the chances of you developing a serious issue are probably very low, even podiatrist, Dr. Michael Nirenberg, protects his own feet and says, “the risk is raised in cases of open sores or wounds, cuts, abrasions, dry, fissured skin, or poor circulation, diabetes … children are more susceptible to catching warts because their immune system is not fully developed.”
Consider a Mask
If you are very concerned about protecting your health, or if you’re traveling during cold and flu season, you might want to consider packing a surgical mask that is designed for blocking viruses.
Yes, you will probably feel a bit awkward if you put one on but it’s also becoming a more common practice, especially for those living with a compromised immune system. Even celebrities have started doing it.
Feeling miserable when you’re away from home is a terrible experience. While you can’t prevent yourself from ever getting sick, you can try to reduce the odds of it happening while traveling.