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Germs on a plane, galore! But you don’t have to catch them. A few righteous moves can help you score the most sanitary conditions while in an airplane. After all, the worst thing in the world is planning a dream vacation for months only to arrive sick from a bug picked up by a plane stranger. Take these smart travel tips along so you can stay safe from colds, flu, and stomach upsets.

Best Seats for Health

Start with the perfect seat for a healthy flight. This involves getting as far away from aisle traffic as possible to avoid the flow of germs. A window seat wins for healthiest airplane seat.

If you are stuck with an aisle seat, consider wearing an antiviral face mask. If you’re worried about looking weird, remember that most of the people on a plane are either sleeping or in their own entertainment bubble. You'll never see them again and, best of all, you won't be sick when you land.

Pack the Purell

Now you have to protect yourself against those frequently handled but rarely, if ever, sanitized items. Start by becoming a Purell power player. Grab the Purell Advanced hand sanitizer in travel size or any sanitizer that has at least 60 percent alcohol. Clean your hands as soon as you get your bags put up in the overhead bin and your seat belt fastened.

Then every time you touch a germ hot spot, sanitize it up. This includes the seat recline button, the touchscreen, and those controls above you for the air flow. As a rule of thumb, try to use hand sanitizer every 15 minutes or after you have just spent time fumbling with something on the airplane. And definitely douse your hands in the stuff before you eat or drink anything.

Beat the Bathroom Bacteria

For some airplane fliers, the first move they make after takeoff is to go to the bathroom. Bad, bad, bad decision if you want to avoid getting sick. The bathrooms are where bacteria go to congregate. It’s a haven that traps the germs of anyone who has been inside, which generally includes individuals who are ill.

The water in airplane bathrooms is also disgusting. In fact, the EPA reporting high levels of fecal matter aka poop in planes in 2004. Do not drink it, and don’t even use it when you brush your teeth. Grab a bottled water for that. When you finish doing your business, squirt some hand sanitizer over your hands instead of using the sink.


If you are sitting next to a stranger who is sneezing like a maniac or hacking up a lung, ask to be moved stat. The CDC and WHO recommends the two-row-rule when it comes to transmitting diseases of infected airplane travelers. The rule stipulates that you have a greater chance of contracting the disease if you sit within two rows of them.

While you may have little choice to change your seat on a fully booked flight, you can at least ask for a seat change if your row buddy is a bacteria fest. At the very least, if you are within two rows of someone who is sick, pull out all of the stops from the face mask to the hand sanitizer to best protect yourself. And if they happen to walk by you in the aisle, turn your head and avoid breathing their lingering air for as long as you can.

Pack these travel tips with you on your next airplane adventure to avoid being one of those sickly statistics. 

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