WICHITA, Kan. As we enter the busiest air travel season of the year, beginning Wednesday, staying healthy will be on the minds of many travelers.
You aren’t crazy if you think you always get sick when you fly either.
“Any time you are around the general public, you are going to exchange bacteria with people in general,” said Dr. Tom Moore, an Infectious Disease Physician in Wichita. “It’s unavoidable.”
When you pack a bunch of strangers into security lines, boarding lines, and then on an airplane… germs will be shared.
And don’t forget, there’s a lot of sickness this time of year anyway.
“This is respiratory virus season,” Dr. Moore explained. “Respiratory viruses are rampant right now, which will continue until it warms up. It has nothing to do with cold weather, it’s just because people are crowded and spreading these viruses from person to person.”
That’s the key, people spreading the sickness to people. Even more than the surfaces you’ll touch while travelling, it’s the people close by who will make you sick.
“The only way you can get an illness is by getting it from another person,” Dr. Moore said.
Dr. Moore says it’s more about the people who are sick taking the proper precautions to prevent spreading the illness, than the people trying to avoid them.
“Generally the most important intervention for people to prevent spreading something, is to cover your mouth when you cough,” said Dr. Moore.
And as for preventative measures?
“The only thing that has really shown to be effective is good hand hygiene,” Dr. Moore said.
So, wash your hands. Often. And get well rested.
And, if you feel the need to wipe down your area when you get on that plane… it can’t hurt.
“You know, they don’t wipe down every surface,” Dr. Moore admitted. “You can certainly wipe it down yourself, or use plenty of hand sanitizer, which is not a bad thing this time of year.”