For many who travel the nagging feeling that you may get sick often lurks in the back of your mind. From planes that recirculate air, have crumb-laden seats, and rarely washed pillows and blankets, to hotels with sheets, pillows and mattresses that have been used by hundreds before, the amount we come into contact with other people’s germs and bacteria is astounding.
According to an article from the Wall Street Journal, most airlines only give planes a deep-cleaning every 30 to 90 days on average. And those blankets and pillows you’re grabbing from the overhead compartment? Often they’re only cleaned at the end of that 30-day cycle.
One can hardly fault the struggling airlines — the smart traveler comes prepared. There are several things a person can do when traveling to maintain their health from the beginning of their trip to the end.
Scandia Down’s travel pillow is perfect for sleeping on the plane, then slipping over your hotel pillow. $75.00
1. Travel Pillow/Blanket
Healthy sleeping habits promote a healthy immune system, sleeping on someone else’s dirty pillow does not.
How many heads do you think have slept on that airplane pillow? Several flights a day, packed planes, 30 days in a row…
Bring your own. The Hotel Travel Pillow from Scandia Down is small enough to fit in your carry-on, and conveniently, unfolds into a down-filled pillow case to slip over your hotel pillow when you arrive at your destination. The company also makes a Travel Attaché that can be rolled up to function as a pillow or unrolled, a throw- sized down-filled duvet.
2. Hand Sanitizer & Wipes
A study by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2004 found that 12.7% of the planes tested, had tap water that tested positive for coliform bacteria. Use hand sanitizer instead, and bring along some clorox wipes to go over all non-porous surfaces within arms reach.
Arid cabin air dries out your nasal passages leaving you more vulnerable to infection, so drink water throughout your flight. Flying is extremely dehydrating and leaves you vulnerable to viruses and bacteria. Purchase bottled water at the airport and drink as much as possible during your flight.
3. Airborne/ Emergen-C
They may have gotten a bad rap for not really performing lately, but kindergarten teachers still swear by them, and a few vitamins are generally a good thing. Take a few in the days leading up to your trip, as well as while you travel.
4. Plane Shoes
Keep on a comfy pair of slip-on shoes with a rubber or leather sole when walking around the airplane. Socks will not protect you from the germs on the floor of the bathroom or the cabin.
Wear shoes that slip on and off easily. Never walk around the plane barefoot. Fratelli Rosetti’s satin slip-ons, $265, are perfect for travel, and Donald J Pliner’s ballet flats at $285 are fashionable and comfortable.