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Ever Catch a Cold/Flu While Flying

Hophop4

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I thought this report was interesting enough to post it on here since we are in the winter months.

Flights and Flu
What you can do to avoid getting sick on your vacation plane trip

It's the sound you dread.

You carefully tuck your carry-on beneath the seat in front of you and settle back into your airline seat indulging in visions of an icy Mai Tai on a white, sandy beach when you first hear it.

Sniff.

Casually, you check out the passenger next to you. Irritated nose, swollen, watery eyes and a crumpled, moist tissue clutched in his hand.

And it's a five-hour flight.

It's a scenario that plays out regularly on flights across the nation and one that's a personal experience for Dr. Michael Zimring, the director of the Center for Wilderness and Travel Medicine at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

His tale takes place on a flight from Seattle next to a passenger who couldn't stop coughing.

"I didn't have a mask to slap over his face," says Zimring. "What do you do? Ask the person to step outside?

"That's a big problem. You're stuck. You can't do much."

You may not avoid contracting the virus when one sits right next to you, but Zimring assures his patients there's much you can do to keep yourself healthy on your vacation flight.

It starts with sleep.

"For several nights beforehand, get a good night's sleep," says Zimring. Last-minute packing into the wee hours the night before you depart will leave you run-down and susceptible to illness. Next comes good nutrition.

"Get a nice sandwich and bring it with you to eat (on the plane)," Zimring says, "and bring water, too." Often airline snacks don't provide enough sustenance or represent healthy options. And water, well that's the next critical item on Zimring's list.

He says it's important to stay hydrated, not only to diminish the effects of dry cabin air on your body, but to avoid the possibility of deep vein thrombosis, serious blood clots that can develop into more serious health conditions.

"Drink plenty of water to make you get up and walk to the bathroom," explains Zimring. Walking keeps your blood circulating and helps prevent it from settling in your lower extremities, a likely place for DVT to occur. People who are obese, senior citizens and women who are pregnant are more susceptible than most to DVT.

So, you plan to walk regularly on the plane, you've packed a healthy sandwich and bottle of water and you made sure to get a good night's sleep. Ready to board? Not quite. You need a small bottle of hand sanitizer.

Germs can remain on objects for up to 20 minutes and while you're walking down the aisle, it's easy to grab seats, overhead bins or walls for balance. So even if a passenger with the flu sits 10 rows back, a visit to the bathroom might bring you in contact with his virus.

Zimring even recommends avoiding airline pillows and blankets (they're sometimes unwashed), using the bathroom paper towel to open the door before you leave the facilities and getting a flu shot.

Some people believe any plan to avoid viruses on flights should include homeopathic remedies, but Zimring says he can neither support nor condemn them.

"People believe in them," he says. "My wife takes Airborne. I can't say I don't believe in it. I just don't know."

What he does know is just about everything to keep travelers healthy, and that's why he's put it in a book: "Healthy Travel: Don't Travel Without It." The book takes travelers through pre-flight check-ups to stress-free travel to medical emergencies, among other topics.

But even if you think of everything, nothing will place you at greater risk to catch a virus than the runny nose, rumbling cough and pile of wet tissues sitting next to you on your flight. "If you're sitting next to them," Zimring says, "you'll probably catch it."

How to learn more
Dr. Michael Zimring's book, "Healthy Travel: Don't Travel Without It," co-authored by Lisa Iannucci, is available at Borders Books or at this web site: www.authorsbookshop.com.
 

pointsjunkie

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i bring wipes on the plane and wipe down everything i may touch. i take airborne, echinasia(spelling), and keep a tissue in my hand at all times, just in case i sneeze or cough.

i give out tissues and wiped to anyone who need them.
 

Jaybee

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I used to catch colds on planes almost every time I flew. Then, along came Airborne. I know there are many who say it doesn't work, but I disagree. I has seemed to work for me (both of us, actually) I also use a nose spray called "Air Defense", and I wash my hands a lot. I've heard that it helps to put Vaseline in the nose.
I've seen (mostly) Oriental on international flights wearing surgical masks, but that looks scary to me. ;) I don't want to go that route. Someone might ask me to perform brain surgery, or something.
 

jehb2

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Neosporin

I got this tip from a flight attendant. I rub Neosporin on edge of my nostrils. I husband use to get sick everytime he flew. He seems to do much better now that he uses Neosporin.

Drinking lots of water and walking around is a lot tougher these days. (I thinking of all my trips to Hawaii since 9/11) Although the flight attendants will always give you water when you ask it's not very convenient to stay hydrated. And they don't like people walking around too much either.
 
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sstamm

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The first thing I do upon sitting in my seat is to wipe off the handrests, light control buttons, audio controls, tray table, etc with a wipe. I am not a germophobe, but I'm sure those areas are seldom cleaned. Sometimes people give me funny looks, but I don't care!!
 

aptiva

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Way worse than flu

Almost positive I picked up the Bacterial Gastronitis (sp) from person next to me on plane ,sleeping the whole trip ( you know with the head flopping over towards me) heat radiating from him.
Vacation week was spent on the toilet, and in hospital 2 days.
A nightmare trip. A complete "wipeout"
If only I had realized.
 

labguides

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My husband is nortorious for being sick with pneumonia or bronchitis after a flight.

As far as using Neosporin in nostrils..
My grandmother always put vaseline in her nose if she was around someone who was sick. She was rarely sick.


I feel Airborne and Zicam help keep me healthy on flights. I take them both a few hours before flight, at beginning of flight and at the end of flight.
 

Courts

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My husband is nortorious for being sick with pneumonia or bronchitis after a flight.

As far as using Neosporin in nostrils..
My grandmother always put vaseline in her nose if she was around someone who was sick. She was rarely sick.


I feel Airborne and Zicam help keep me healthy on flights. I take them both a few hours before flight, at beginning of flight and at the end of flight.
I have always had problems with sore throat and colds. My Hawaii trip almost caused divorce :D , but seriously since then I discovered Zicam and it is a miracle drug for me.

Once I feel a sore throat, it's Zicam to the rescue !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
.
 
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