SmarterTravel®, a comprehensive travel advice resource for the budget-conscious consumer, today offered tips for staying healthy while traveling, including some of the dirtiest parts of the plane you should avoid, especially during a highly contagious cold and flu season.
"Airplanes are a breeding ground for germs, and this year, the added threat of H1N1 gives travelers even more reason to be careful when flying," said Anne Banas, executive editor of SmarterTravel. "We designed these tips to help travelers stay healthy while traveling - especially in the close quarters of an airplane."
Here's a sample of tips to help people travel smart and avoid catching a bug:
- Don't put your belongings in the seatback pocket. Passengers store everything from used tissues to dirty diapers in there, making the pocket a holding tank for germs and bacteria.
- Ask for bottled water whenever possible; according to the EPA, the aircraft's holding tank water often contains total coliform bacteria.
- Avoid using blankets and pillows offered by the airline personnel, as they are rarely laundered and can harbor germs left by previous passengers.
- Wipe down the armrests and tray table with a sanitizing wipe.
- Use tissues to flush toilets and turn faucets and doorknobs in the bathrooms. Traces of E.coli can be found in many airplane bathrooms.
- Pack items in plastic bags to prevent germs from spreading to your personal items.
- Drink plenty of water and skip the onboard spirits, which can cause dehydration.
More tips can be found here.
Banas adds, "One recent study in the Journal of Environmental Health Research says that passengers are more than 100 times more likely to get sick on an airplane compared to everyday circumstances. It's important, now more than ever, for travelers to take these extra steps to prevent any illness."