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5 Tips To Protect Yourself From Germs On A Plane

Are you headed anywhere for a late spring break? A graduation? Maybe the Kentucky Derby? Or just jet-setting, as per usual, for the weekend? (I wish!)

Whether you’re hopping a flight to watch someone walk the stage or walk down the aisle, the last thing you wanna do is get sick on a plane before you even get there! 

By: Stephanie Sandoval

I had just come back from my first trip to Italy. I was excited to show everyone my pictures and talk about my experience.

But illness struck.

My whole body ached. All signs pointed to the stomach flu.  After a couple of days of agony, I swore I would be much more careful on my next trip.   

Here are 5 tips to protect yourself from getting sick on a plane on your next trip:

1. Say “No” To The Pillows And Blankets

It was crippling cold, so I made the mistake of covering myself in an airplane blanket, which was probably dirty from not being cleaned in the last 30 days.

But even if a blanket is wrapped in a plastic bag, you don’t know for sure whether that blanket has been properly washed.

Think about how many flights one airplane goes through in a day. Now, think about how many people may have used that same blanket.


If you’re always cold like me, carry a sweater, scarf, beanie, and a small blanket. I don’t know about you, but being warm helps me sleep. If you have trouble sleeping because of neck pain, buy a neck pillow but don’t use the pillow from the plane. You don’t want a pillow that others have been drooling on all day.

2. Use Hand Sanitizer

I always carry hand sanitizer with me. I constantly used it and was even told I was obsessed, so I let my guard down. But I learned my lesson. I will never stop doing something for fear of being judged. (Thanks, Mom!)

Check out these 3 Lessons Kimberly Taught Her Daughters.

On my last trip, I used hand sanitizer every time my hands touched any part of the plane. After adjusting my seatbelt, I pulled out my hand sanitizer. After adjusting the position of the TV screen, I disinfected my hands with hand sanitizer. A small bottle of hand sanitizer is very handy.        

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3. Disinfect Your Seating Area

Bring alcohol-based wipes with you and wipe those germs away!

Disinfect the seat belt buckle, the in-flight entertainment clicker, and the tray table. Some parents use the tray table as a place to change their baby’s diapers. With that in mind, I don’t think I ever want to eat on a tray table again. 

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4. Beware Of Airplane Bathrooms

Personally, I try to avoid using the bathroom on an airplane. I usually handle my business prior to boarding. However, this is difficult to do when you find yourself on a 10-hour flight after drinking a full bottle of water to keep from getting dehydrated (a common issue while flying).

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One of the things to do while in an airplane bathroom is to avoid touching the surface of anything in an airplane bathroom.

According to Dr. Abinash Virk, an infectious disease expert at the Mayo Clinic, grab a paper towel before flushing the toilet, turning on the faucet, and opening the restroom door.

And of course we can’t forget about washing our hands with hot water and soap!

Hands aren’t the only things that touch the seatback.

5. Don’t Let Your Items Fall To The Bottom Of The Seatback Pocket

If you’re like any of us, you probably store your personal items like headphones, your water bottle, or magazines in this easy-to-reach compartment. Unfortunately, others may use it as their personal trash bin. So what’s the easiest way to avoid germs?

Store your items near the top of the seatback pocket instead.

Personally, I just avoid using the seatback pocket altogether. The thought of used, dirty tissues makes me cringe!

“On the airplane, we are constantly touching stuff that hundreds of other people are touching, and a cold virus can live on an inanimate object for quite a while.”

Brenda Powell, MD, a travel medicine expert at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

For this reason, let’s practice caution. I may come across as a crazy germophobe, but it sure beats getting sick on a trip.

Let our next trip on an airplane be enjoyable and positively memorable!

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Photo Sources: WeHeartIt


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