Fear of Flying

If you fly, it is entirely likely that when you land, you’ll be accompanied by enough illness-inducing bacteria to fill a suitcase! It sure seems to me, that whenever I come down with something, I was on a plane not long before. Is there a correlation between flying and getting ill? After looking at the following data, maybe it’s not just my imagination.

  • Random samples have shown that the drinking water on one in 10 flights is contaminated with bacteria.
  • Germs populate the majority of tray tables and armrests.
  • Researchers have found that airplane bathrooms are home to the greatest concentration of germs.
  • The recycled air on planes has been found to contain pathogens
  • If you sit within two rows of someone with tuberculosis – and your flight is more than eight hours – you can become infected.


It’s not likely that you can avoid germs and bacteria when you fly, but here are a few tips that to folliow on your next flight.


  1. Apply hand sanitizer throughout the flight. For example, apply sanitizer before and after eating or drinking anything.
  2. Avoid the restroom if at all humanly possible.
  3. Set the air vent at medium and position it so that the air blows straight down into your lap. This is supposed to create a defensive zone against infectious particles.
  4. Wipe down the seat, armrests, tray table, seatback pocket, and seatbelt using Purell wipes.
  5. Stay hydrated throughout the flight.
  6. Wipe down anything given to you by a member of the cabin crew including drinks and snacks.
  7. Never use an unpackaged pillow or blanket.
  8. Follow this rule: if you didn’t bring it on board – don’t touch it. This includes seatback pockets, which essentially are landfills often overflowing with discarded food, used tissues, and even dirty diapers. And, no matter how bored you get during the flight, resist the urge to reach for a magazine stuffed into the seatback pocket. Based on the almost incalculable number of yucky hands that have previously held these publications, more than one epidemiologist has classified in-flight reading materials as bio-hazards.


And most important of all – sit back, relax and enjoy the trip. And hopefully, just maybe, you won’t get sick after you reach your destination.


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