When I think about airplanes there’s something there that just screams germs to me. Maybe it’s the tight enclosed space, or it could be the air that’s been cycled and recycled, or yes it’s the girl sitting right beside you who refuses to cover up when she coughs. It surely is enough to make me want to drive to my holiday instead! But thankfully, planes aren’t as filled with germs as you might think. That’s all thanks to the air filters that help reduce the number of viruses and bacteria on board your flight. Actually, you’re probably more likely to catch something in the airport than on the flight! But with a few simple changes to the way you fly you can reduce your chances of picking up something even more.

1.     Stay hydrated: Drinking water and keeping nasal passages moist can reduce your risk of infection.

It’s good to keep drinking (and that’s water not alcohol!!) before, during, and after your flight. Avoid or limit all products with caffeine or alcohol. Both can cause dehydration (especially when inadequate clear fluids are drunk with them). It turns out that drinking plenty of water will not only counter the overall dehydrating effects of air travel (which can certainly lead to headaches, stomach problems, cramps, fatigue and much more) but can actually strengthen your natural immune system to function considerably better. Best idea is to sip water (or some other fluid) frequently right through the flight, that is more effective than drinking a ton of water all at once before or during the flight. This will help keep your protective system from extended dry spells.

Nasal mists have been found to be very effective in keeping your nose hydrated and moist. Also, try a hot drink; they’re a good way to keep your mucous membranes operating. First, they will assist in keeping you hydrated; second, they can directly provide moisture in the form of steam to your nose

2.     Disinfect, disinfect, and disinfect:To cut down on viruses that stick to your hands it is essential to wash them or use a hand sanitizer.

Wash hands frequently! There’s no substitute for hand washing as a first line of defence against all types of ill health. Be sure to wash your hands before and after you get on the plane (using the paper towel to turn off the faucet so you don’t pick up more germs before you’re out the door). Please pack the disinfectant wipes and use them to wipe down the tray tables, seat arms, remote control devices, and TV touch screens. Also, carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for use when you can’t get to the bathroom to wash. And, avoid touching your eyes or nose with your hands any more than you have to, and wash them before you do.

3.     Fight for your right to fresh air:Open that air vent!

While you might be tempted to close up that air vent blasting an icy breeze, don’t – it’s best to actually aim it right at you, so that it passes just in front of your face. Filtered airplane air can help direct airborne contagions away from you. The re-circulated air is filtered, so planes equipped with good ventilation systems will have lower germ transmission rates than those that don’t. And the blowing air can help push away the germs that might float into your space from a nearby passenger.

So the next time you board a flight, try to keep these simple tips in mind, and you might avoid catching something really nasty.