Does it seem that every time you travel you come home with an unwanted souvenir — a cold? You assume it’s from breathing the recirculated air on the plane, but that’s probably not the case.
In modern aircraft, the air is refreshed every two or three minutes. About half the fresh air is drawn in by the engines and the other half is recirculated air that goes through a filtration system, according to the Aerospace Medical Association.
It’s more likely that catching a cold at 30,000 feet can be attributed to person-to person contact. With that in mind, these tips will help reduce your risk—and other passengers’ risk—for catching something on a flight:
- Get up to date on immunizations; talk to your doctor about whether a flu or other vaccine is right for you.
- Wash your hands often. And use hand sanitizer when you can’t.
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
If you are currently in treatment for cancer, talk to your doctor about whether air travel is safe and whether you should take special precautions according to your unique condition.
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