Ebola cropping up on American shores has spawned a wave of fear and concern. But as health experts remind us, the dread disease can only be spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is symptomatic. As such, Ebola need not be of great concern to the average airline traveler.
But picking up cold and flu germs on an airplane is a commonplace complaint. Yahoo! Travel experts provide these tips for staying healthy when you fly:
Wipe your seat with antibacterial wipes – Bacteria hides, and chances are the flight crew did little more before you boarded than get rid of the trash from the last flight. Ignore the funny looks you get and use those wipes on your seat, arm rests, and backrest.
Stay hydrated – Drinking plenty of fluids in-flight helps prevent a chain reaction that leaves you prone to catching something nasty in the very dry air on planes.
Don’t trust the restroom water – Not even to wash your hands. Planes fill up their water tanks wherever they are serviced, and since you don’t know where that might have been, stick to antibacterial wipes and bottled drinking water.
Use only packaged blankets and pillows – Who knows what germs might be lingering in blankets and pillows used by previous passengers? Those that have been laundered are wrapped in plastic, so if the ones you are offered are not wrapped, use your sweater or jacket instead.
Get your travel shots well in advance – It takes seven to 10 days for a shot – whether it’s a simple flu shot or a hepatitis A vaccine for third world travel – to build immunity. Don’t wait till the last minute to be inoculated.
Don’t touch – The more surfaces you touch on a plane, the more likely you will pick up germs. Keep your hands to yourself – or invest in some thin cotton gloves.
Think about wearing a surgical mask – If you’re not in Asia, this could be a tough sell, but wearing one could dramatically reduce your chances of picking up germs from the passenger next to or around you.