How You Can Avoid Getting a Cold on a Plane

Airplanes are a perfect breeding ground for germs. In airplanes, a lot of people are confined to a small space. When you’re in proximity to so many people, your chances of catching a cold are much higher.

Airplane travel is stressful enough as it is. It’s a fatiguing, arduous process which takes a long time. The last thing you need is to catch a cold. Luckily, there are several steps which you can take to reduce the risk. Here are the most important points to remember.

Make Sure to Be Well Rested

Sleep is an important contributing factor to our immune systems. When we don’t get enough sleep, we’re opening ourselves up to various viruses and infections.

If you don’t get enough rest, you’ll be more vulnerable to catching a cold. This fact doesn’t mesh well with the confined, germ-filled nature of airplanes.

Travelling is exhausting. In the long term, jet lag can seriously disrupt your sleeping patterns.

To counteract these risks, make sure to get a good night’s sleep before your flight. People who get enough quality sleep are less likely to get sick.


Washing your hands is a great way to reduce the risk of catching a cold. The issue of hygiene is a bit more complex on a plane, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed.

When you board the plane, immediately wash your hands with warm water and soap, for at least 30 seconds. Wet wipes and alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used from the comfort of your seat.

When you get to your seat, wipe it down with antibacterial wipes. The most important areas to consider are the armrest, headrest, and seatbelt.

Even when you’ve sanitized your surroundings, avoid touching your face.

Areas to Avoid

Some areas in an airplane present a higher risk of catching a cold. Avoiding these areas can go a long way in preventing airplane illnesses.

As a rule of thumb, the back of the airplane is the area with the worst air quality. If you can, avoid seats in this area.

Another area that you should avoid if possible is the bathroom. Airplane bathrooms are used by dozens of people, making them a veritable germ haven. In the same vein, you should avoid using seatback pockets.

Food, Water, and Supplements

There are plenty of things which you can do before and during a flight to fortify your health. Eating healthy foods, particularly ones rich in antioxidants, can help boost your immune system.

Sugary and starchy foods can temporarily slow down your immune system. You should also consider taking some immune supplements before your flight. A flu vaccine, zinc supplement, and some probiotics can make a real difference.

Hydration is also very important. The dry air in airplane cabins is a major reason why people often get sick on planes.

Drink plenty of water, and bring a nasal irrigation spray with you.