What you should know about traveling!For more information on traveling, read more here!
Wash your hands
- Just think about where your hands have been in the past 24 hours. Now, think about all the hands that have touched airplane tray tables and seatbelt buckles. If that doesn’t give you pause, consider whether you bite your nails, touch your face or rub your eyes.
Should I be cleaning the tray tables and air vents?
- A 2015 report by the Government Accountability Office found that crew members had a limited time to clean the cabin before passengers on the next flight boarded. Some of the people the G.A.O. interviewed said employers “did not provide hand-on training to respond to specific disease outbreaks such as Ebola.”
- So, what does that mean for travelers? Some people bring sanitizing wipes and use them to wipe down seats, tray tables, bathroom handles and even air vents. The health care professionals we spoke to said this was not recommended.
- Dr. Hertzberg suggested placing sheets of paper on tray tables so laptops or other items don’t come in contact with the surface. She suggested using a paper towel when opening and closing the bathroom door. Dr. Pietro said not to place food directly on the table. (It should be kept in its container.) And forget about using seat-back holders. A 2014 study from Auburn University in Alabama said some germs could survive a week on a cloth pocket.
Is it safe to breathe on the plane?
- The risk of contracting an illness from a fellow airline passenger is similar to the risk of getting sick after traveling on a bus or subway, or sitting in a movie theater, according to a 2018 report from the International Air Transport Association. That said, it offered a qualifier: The risk is probably lower on planes because they use high-efficiency air filters that are comparable to those used in hospital operating rooms. Called HEPA filters, they capture 99 percent of the airborne microbes in recirculated air and are changed at regular intervals, the association said.
- What that doesn’t address is the overhead vents themselves, which carry germs transmitted by people’s hands. Health professionals advise moving vents so they blow on hands, not on the mouth, face or nose. The humidity in aircraft cabins is low, too, usually less than 20 percent.
Get your rest
- The healthier your immune system, the better your chance of not getting sick. Sleep six to eight hours a night, Dr. Tierno said. Exercise. Eat fruits and vegetables.
- And slow down, Dr. Tierno said: “Stress is the worst thing that can happen to your body.”
For daily updates, please visit the official CDC website for accurate information.