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7 Tips for Staying Healthy on a Plane

I wrote this post as part of my participation in a blog tour on behalf of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division, the makers of SUDAFED®. I received compensation to thank me for taking the time to participate. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

7 Tips for Staying Healthy on a PlaneAlthough I have mostly happy memories in all of my travels, sometimes things don’t exactly go according to plan.  I’ve been lucky to not have had any truly serious travel mishaps but I have certainly had my fair share of illnesses while traveling.  My family often travels during the winter months for the holidays and cold and flu season often claims a victim in our family.

7 Tips for Staying Healthy on a Plane Scuba Diving Sinus Pressure

Scuba diving is fun, but not with sinus pressure!

Let’s face it: being sick on vacation stinks.  I remember vividly flying back from a wonderful week in Hawaii a few years ago with a head cold and feeling like my head was going to explode.  And on a trip to Bora Bora, I didn’t realize that I was coming down with a cold on a day that I had scheduled a full day of scuba diving.  The views on the dive were amazing, but I spent most of my time underwater worrying about my sinuses rebelling with every minor pressure change.  Luckily, I always travel with SUDAFED® (yes, even to Bora Bora!) which helped relieve a lot of the pain so I could get on with my vacations.

7 Tips for Staying Healthy on a Plane Hawaiian View

It’s hard to enjoy Hawaiian views like this when you are sick on vacation.

Although its great to have a product I know and trust to turn to when I do get sick, it is all the more important to me to avoid getting sick in the first place.  A common culprit is the airplane, where new people and new germs in a small enclosed space are a breeding ground for sickness.

If you are looking to avoid spending some of your next vacation fighting a bug you caught on your flight, here are my 7 best tips to avoid getting sick on a plane:

7 Tips for Staying Healthy on a Plane

7 Tips for Staying Healthy on a Plane Seatback Tray Table and IFE

The tray tables and in flight entertainment systems would benefit from a good cleaning!

1. Sanitize the tray table and arm rests.

The armrests and the tray tables are the most touched items on planes but I can assure you they are very rarely disinfected.  The first thing I do when I sit down on a plane is to wipe them down with an antibacterial wipe.  Don’t forget the in-flight entertainment handsets and touchscreen either.

2. Don’t touch your face.

Touching your face spreads germs from your hands to places where they are more likely to get your sick (like your nose, mouth, and eyes).  It’s a tough habit to break, but paying a little extra attention on planes may well keep you well.

3. Drink lots of liquids.

One of the major reasons travelers get sick after air travel is dehydration.  Planes are very arid places and flying dries out nasal passages and can contribute to allowing a sickness to take hold.  Drink plenty of water when you travel and consider moisturizing products like nasal sprays and eye drops to help too!

7 Tips for Staying Healthy on a Plane Airplane Bathroom

Wash up in the airplane bathroom!

4. Frequent hand washing!

Washing your hands is the single most important thing you can do to limit the spread of germs, whether on an airplane or anywhere else.  But washing your hands in an airplane bathroom can be fraught with peril.  Those places are nasty, so touching surfaces like the faucets or door latch after you leave the lavatory can mean your hands aren’t quite so clean any more.  Consider bringing along a travel-size hand sanitizer (remember the TSA liquids and gels rule) for extra protection.

5. Try to switch seats if you have a sick seat mate.

Planes are fuller than ever so it is often difficult to switch seats when you find yourself sitting next to a modern day Typhoid Mary.  But it never hurts to ask, especially if there are obvious empty seats to be taken.  (And if you are ever the seatmate hacking up a lung, at least consider traveling with a surgical mask to protect others from your germs!)

6. Don’t forget your flu shot.

Winter holiday travel is when the flu really starts to spread as people and their germs head home for the holidays.  Flu shots aren’t a magic bullet but they can really limit the spread of the flu and its severity if you do get it, so everyone in my family gets one annually.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that it takes about 2 full weeks for your body to develop antibodies to the flu after getting your flu shot, so make sure to get the flu shot at least several weeks before you travel for maximum protection.

7. Keep air vents above your seat open.

Wait – isn’t recirculated air on airplanes the culprit in spreading illnesses on planes?  Actually, the experts indicate that because the circulated air on planes is well-filtered, you improve your chances of staying well by keeping your overhead vent open.  The stagnant air is where germs breed and make you sick.

Thanks to SUDAFED® for sponsoring this post.  Sudafed is offering Trips With Tykes readers a chance at winning a $25 gift card for sharing their own #SinusStruggle, whether traveling or at home.  See the terms and conditions in the Rafflecopter widget below.
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Wild Orchid

Thursday 29th of October 2015

One compared it to being underwater. I feel like my face is covered in a ton of bricks when I have sinus struggles.

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wildorchid985 AT gmail DOT com

Frontierland Station (@FrontierlandSta)

Wednesday 28th of October 2015

I agree with Jessica. It's like being under water. Like you, I always travel with Sudafed. You never know when you may have sinus issues and you definitely don't want to be without Sudafed!

Didi Marie

Wednesday 28th of October 2015

I usually spend half the winter feeling as though I'm underwater. Time to give Sudafed a try!

Amanda Sakovitz

Wednesday 28th of October 2015

Jessica feels like shes underwater. My sinus struggles feel like a clogged sink.

Stephanie A

Tuesday 27th of October 2015

Jessica said her head felt like it was underwater when she experiences sinus pain.my sinuses and ears get clogged and I feel like my head is a big overinflated balloon that I can't pop.