Sitting in a large, cylindrical tin can, thousands of feet above the earth provides ample opportunity for germs and viruses to flourish. With re-circulated air making sure that your fellow passengers ailments are being spread uniformly across the cabin, the chances of you catching a cold or worse are high. And if you are travelling with more than 300 or so of them of a long distant flight, you are at more risk than you imagined. The Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University showed that your chances of catching a cold are directly related to the length of exposure. So you are much more likely to catch a cold on a long-haul flight to Australia than if you are popping over to Portugal. To avoid catching a virus and ruining the holiday of your dreams, we have put together some practical advice on how to stay healthy on the plane.
Colds & Flu
When you are at home you mix with people who have a common cold or flu virus and it is possible to build up some kind of immunity towards them. When you go abroad however, we meet strangers and we’re often subjected to a host of new viruses to which we have no immunity at our holiday destination. To avoid getting colds and flu, follow basic hygiene practises. Always wash your hands after touching surfaces such as door knobs and tables or chairs, as the cold virus can survive for a couple of hours on communal surfaces. Never share food, glasses or knives and forks. This will protect you from getting stomach bugs such as salmonella and listeria, as well as viruses and fungi.
Recommended Product: Milton Antibacterial Hand Gel – £1.99
If you are predisposed to travel sickness then you will need to take a tablet a couple of hours before you set off on your journey. It has been known that ginger reduces the symptoms of motion sickness associated with travel by boat and to a lesser extent by car. Holland & Barrett’s Head Nutritionist, Kate Butler, says, “Ginger is considered a tonic for the digestive tract, supporting digestion and toning the intestinal muscles. This action eases the transport of substances throughout the digestive tract, helping to lessen irritation to the intestinal walls.” Keep a packet of dry biscuits handy and a bottle of water with you.
Recommended Product: H&B Ginger Root Capsules, £7.39
Your eyes can suffer greatly on long-haul and particularly overnight flights, leaving them dry and painful. Make sure you take with you an eye-drop solution that matches the pH of healthy tears. There are also eye sprays on which you spray over the eye lids which is effective. If you are a contact lens wearer, make sure you choose a specialist product that is made for contact lens wearers, to avoid drying out the lens and irritating the eye further.
Recommended Product: Optrex Bloodshot Eye Drops, £4.29
Stress & Anxiety
If the thought of sitting on a plane for 24 hours fills you with dread and panic, go to your doctors before you get on the plane and get some prescribed sedatives or you can go to your pharmacist and buy over the counter relaxing tablets that will do the same thing. Essential oils such as lavender, bergamot, peppermint and grapefruit can also help calm and revive you. Opt for a pre-blended travel rollerball for convenience, or try Rescue Remedy for panic attacks. A cooling face spray is calming and refreshing, stopping skin drying out as you get flushed at 30,000 feet.
Recommended Product: Tisserand Travel Ease, £4.85.