How to Prevent Getting Sick on a Plane: Four Tips for Avoiding Pathogens While Traveling

How to Prevent Getting Sick on a Plane: Four Tips for Avoiding Pathogens While Traveling
How to Prevent Getting Sick on a Plane: Four Tips for Avoiding Pathogens While Traveling

Cold and flu season is here, meaning that you may be worried about the various illnesses you could be exposed to on your next flight. Whether it’s for work or vacation, entering an enclosed airport with thousands of people from all over the world can be a serious health concern. This is especially true this year with the threat of the coronavirus on the forefront of everyone’s mind. To help you avoid contracting a pathogen on your next flight, here are a few tips on how to prevent getting sick while you travel:

Tip #1: Know Where to Sit

When considering ways to avoid pathogens you may want to choose your seat wisely. A 2018 study suggests that a window seat can help you minimize your contact with other passengers. Statistically, those who choose window seats are far less inclined to get out of their seat. Also, sitting near the window keeps you away from passengers walking through the isle. This could keep you out of the sneezing and coughing radius of airborne pathogens. 

Tip #2: Wear a Mask

Wearing a mask can be a cheap and effective way to keep pathogens out of your mouth and lungs. Wearing a mask is more effective if those that are sick wear them, however, because this entraps any coughing or sneezing. However, wearing a mask can protect you if are not already sick as well. 

Tip #3: Wash Your Hands

This is arguably the most important tip to prevent catching an illness. Human hands come into contact with various surfaces, including some highly contaminated ones such as a toilet handle. Respiratory diseases such as influenza or the common cold are most commonly transmitted by those who come into contact with the disease with their hand and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. To properly wash your hands, follow these steps:

Step 1 – Rinse your hands with warm water (this will open up your pores).

Step 2 – Pour approximately five milliliters of soap onto your palm.

Step 3 – Rub your hands together outside of the water for approximately 20 seconds reaching all areas.

Step 4 – Rinse pointing your hands downward so that water flows over down your wrists and over your hands.

Following this recommended hand-washing procedure as often as possible will enable you to keep your hands free of germs. 

Tip #4: Keep Your Distance

Staying away from those who are showing symptoms of an illness is the easiest and most effective way to put some distance between yourself and any airborne particles. If you notice any signs that a person on your flight is showing symptoms of illness, you will want to keep as much distance as possible between them and yourself. 


If you need to travel by air and are worried about being exposed to pathogens carried by your fellow passengers, the good news is that there are things you can do to lower your chances of contracting a nasty bug. Follow the tips outlined above to keep yourself safe and healthy the next time you fly. 

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