Ahh, you finally made it through security and even managed to snag a window seat on the plane. Victory! Vacation better be ready for you.  Dang girl, you’re about to seriously work those rhinestone covered flip-flops. As you start to settle in, a jolly looking man comes down the aisle and pleasantly nods your way, as if to say, “is this seat taken?” Being the polite, courteous traveler you are, you beckon him your way. And then it happens. You watch him sneeze in what feels like slow-motion, snot and spit hurtling through the air, and you become filled with the rage of a mother puma protecting her newborn cubs. Meee-ow!

Is he seriously still going to squeeze in next to you if he’s sick?! Can’t he sit next to those businessmen behind you? Those yuppies would probably love to use a sick day.  Before you’re able to think about making a mad dash for the back of the plane, your flight attendant comes over the loud speaker and informs everyone that the plane is preparing for take-off. Blast! You’re trapped like a rat. Let this be a lesson to you the next time you need to take to the skies. Heed our warnings and use these tips to avoid getting sick on your next flight, whether you’re sitting next to a congested passenger or just have a bad case of cabin fever:

Channel Your Inner OCD

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As your mother famously nagged, “it’s better to be safe than sorry!” Don’t worry, you don’t need to tell her she was right. On your next airborne getaway, pack a punch with disinfectants. Because guess what, there are germs all around you. Stock up on some serious hand sanitizer, preferably in the form of wipes since you’ll need to take it through security. Wipe down your seat, tray table, and any other surface you come into contact with. If you’re really looking to one-up your germ-fighting plane game, buy a face mask at your local drug store. Although to your fellow passengers it might seem as if you’re preparing for a zombie apocalypse, you’ll get the last laugh when you de-board germ free. While you’re at it, make sure to avoid touching your face too much. And don’t even think about sitting down on that toilet.

Fight for Your Right to Hydrate

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Your body is a temple! Well, usually. You did eat like six chalupas last night and washed them down with beer. But hey, today’s a new day and your body is a temple once more. Ohmmm! When you know you’re going to be flying through the sky and consequently fields of germs, hit the vitamin aisle at your local health food store hard. Down those puppies with as much water as your bladder can humanly handle. By actively hydrating and replenishing yourself with vitamins, you bolster your immune system to combat those unwanted air germs. And while many people believe you get sick from a lack of air circulation on planes, this finding has little to no research backing it. So before you start blasting yourself with icy cold air from those little twisty vents, relax and just chug some water. Maybe even some with added electrolytes if you’re feeling frisky.

Choose Your Seat Wisely 

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So the guy in seat 32B is looking pretty fine, but if he has a hanky with him and is requesting herbal tea from the flight attendant, beware! This might seem like an obvious one, but forget politeness when it comes to finding your in-flight buddy. You’re going to be strapped in next to each other for an extended period of time. Is it worth the risk of getting sick? Wave goodbye to your coughing co-worker. Did you hear something? Oops. Be wary of children with running noses and beautiful strangers with pink eye.

Finding a seat on a plane can be comparable to entering a battleground. But even if you do get stuck sitting next to a sneezing, wheezing, mess of a neighbor—you’ll be able to stay calm and collected thanks to our tips and tricks. Kudos! And hand that guy next to you a tissue, jeez Louise.