Posted by: Pamela Kalivas | December 21, 2011

Germ Survival Guide On Holiday Flights

Security Check in South Beijing, China

Travel Flights during the Holidays fill the air with excitement, hustle and bustle and “Germs.”

The #1 Myth of air flight: Fly on a crowded plane and you will come down with a cold.

In reality, studies show that high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters on most jets can capture up to 99% of bacterial and virus-carrying particles.  So where are all the germs waiting to hitch a ride on your body? What do you do when stuck sitting between or next to sneezers and coughers? 

Follow my survival guide and you will most likely arrive or return to your destination healthy.  Then follow my tips for lifting your luggage in my previous blog and be ready to “sit by the fire, toasting to your desires with family and friends,” with no aching back, stiffness, or sickness!

Survival Gear:   Clear Plastic Bags, Tissues, Saline Spray, Alcohol Hand Sanitizer and Wipes

First, we must locate the hidden little creatures;  Going through Security.

Research shows that Security Checkpoints are places where people bunch up in lines where coughing and sneezing happens, shoes are removed and placed with other belongings into plastic bins.  These bins typically don’t get cleaned after every use.

        -Survival Tip: Bring clean plastic bags you can place your shoes in and put the bag into the bin. Then place your personal belongings on top.  Think about purses as well.   Placing them in separate plastic bags may minimize exposure to germs.  Throw away the bags once you have cleared security.

Second, On the Plane:  Where Germs are lurking.

Your seat and tray tables can be covered with germs. 

       -Survival Tip: Use sanitizer wipes to disinfect before using.

Seat-back pockets can be stuffed with used tissue and napkins or worse. 

       -Survival Tip: Doctors say the best solution is not to use them.

Touching seats and latches on overhead storage bins. 

       -Survival Tip: Use hand sanitizer.

The Bathroom: The door latch, flushing commode button and the sink faucet and handles. 

       -Survival Tip: Restrain from filling a water bottle from the sink’s tap where germs are abundant on the faucet mouth.  Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer after touching the sink faucet and handles or flushing the commode.

Airline pillows and blankets.

        -Survival Tip: Bring your own and avoid using the ones provided. Wash them if you can when you get to your destination or store them in a separate container.

At 30,000 feet the air environment in the airplane is dry and viruses thrive in low humidity conditions which enables easier spread of disease.

         -Survival Tip:  Stay hydrated and keeps nasal passages moist with a Saline Spray to reduce your risk of infection.

Remember the “hot zone” for infections risk is two seats in front, behind and on either side of you.  With crowded flights today, changing seats may not be an option.  Remember Myth #1. Your best option is to open the air vent and direct flow to deflect germs and breathe filtered air. The Federal Aviation Administration issued an advisory in 2003 saying passengers should be removed from planes within 30 minutes if there’s no air circulation. So speak up if air circulation is shut off for an extended period of time.

Finally, Dr. Mark Gendreaus of Boston’s Lahey Clinic Medical Center says “If you take the proper precautions, you should do quite well. Most of our immune systems do what they are designed to do – protect us from infectious results.”

Have a Healthy Holiday Air Travel and a Prosperous New Year!

Sierra is committed to ensure you are able to work in a comfortable and safe environment whether at a computer work station or in the industrial setting.  Our training sessions give you the tools to optimal performance while keeping you healthy. Please contact us for more information.


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