July 25, 2020

4 tips to have a healthier flight

You’re on a plane and someone coughs near you. Would you spend the rest of the flight convinced that you can see their germs marching your way? I would. Short of an in-flight hazmat kit, try the following.

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4 ways to (hopefully) have a healthy flight

Thailand’s peak travel season coincides with the height of cough/cold/flu season in cold places and planes make us more susceptible to everything. This, plus everyone's least-favourite C-word, means those of us who "Purell first and ask questions later" have new recruits to welcome. (Hello, nice to meet you, now let's both wash our hands). So! How to have a healthy flight and arrive as healthy as you were at departure? Short of an in-flight hazmat kit, try the following.

1. Plan to sleep

Pack: A neck-support travel pillow

Plan to sleep as much as possible on your long-haul flight. In addition to a good travel pillow, consider a blackout sleep mask paired with some in-flight ear plugs. If you're on the shorter side of humankind, you might love an inflatable airplane footrest or a foot hammock. The former is great for small children as you can rig up a makeshift bed.

2. Dont get crispy

Pack: Electrolyte drink tablets

You know you’re supposed to drink water non-stop while flying but if you need to catch up after the drinks trolley has made its rounds.... I've started drinking at least one Nuun tab per long-haul flight (and usually another when I arrive). Totally anecdotal, but my "sample size of one" reports feeling a lot less "crispy" on arrival.

3. Swell socks

Pack: Compression socks

If you're too tall to enjoy the use of an in-flight foot rest (mentioned above), or your feet/ankles/calves tend to swell on long flights, you might love a pair of compression socks. They're like ski socks with a little more squeeze. As for zombie-eyeballs, these Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels might perform small miracles just before you land.

4. Bright-eyed, bushy tailed

Pack: Jet lag remedy

I have no idea – absolutely no idea – if this stuff works, but a blog reader tipped me off to No-Jet-Lag, a homeopathic approach to sleepless night from Lewis N. Clark. All I can offer is that reviews look good.

5. Do some mental math

Pack: Lavender hand sanitizer

Make a few quick estimates about how many pairs of hands will touch your luggage cart/ passport/suitcase in a day. Google tells us that flu viruses can live on hard surfaces for over 24 hours. Time for another dollop?

I use hand sanitizer non-stop on planes. Even after I've exited the bathroom in a Mission Impossible acrobatics performance using paper towels as gloves, I add another dose of hand sanitizer when I'm back in my seat. See what your imagination can cook up.

While Purell is ubiquitous, I really like this one for its lavender scent. (Tip: Spray it on your plane pillow to both disinfect it and add some lavender-sleepy-time scent. It smells really good).

6. Sit down, strap in...and disinfect

Pack: Antibacterial wipes

Sit down, strap in... and start your sanitising spree. Need some convincing to look like a weird germaphobe? See what The New York Times had to report about norovirus (amongst other foes) on airplane tray tables: 4 out of 6 tray tables tested positive for [Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)], and norovirus...was found on one tray. Most of the bathrooms...had E. coli bacteria.

Here’s a tip for you pre-boarders. Use your 10 or so minutes of ‘alone time’ to de-germ your seat area (without anyone to observe your paranoia attention to detail). Give a quick once-over to anything you (or your dinner) are going to touch in the next 8, 10 or 12 hours. Armrests, tray table, TV controls... If you see me doing the same, give a little wave.

7. 'Airborne' vitamins

Pack: Airborne Vitamin C Chewables

While Thailand has great sources of Vitamin C ready for your arrival (fresh coconut is amongst the best), your in-flight options are more limited. I haven’t tried Airborne myself but noticed it pops up in all sorts of ‘travel health’ recommendations. Worth a shot?

Happy, healthy travels

Whether you’re trying to avoid just a cough or full consumption from your fellow passengers – it’s not nice to feel like a sitting duck. Hopefully, these will help. Happy travels.