Avoiding Germs on Crowded Flights

How to stay germ-free on flights.

Germs and travelling almost go hand-in-hand. You’re 113 times more likely to catch the common cold during air travel than on the ground.

Air travel in Australia is increasing year on year, with 5.29 million passengers flying domestically within Australia in April this year (up 3.2% compared with April 2017). Two of the busiest air routes is found within Australia. Over 54,000 flights a year occur between Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane to Sydney flies 33,765 times yearly. Of course, as air travel increases, so too does the germs on planes.

That makes sense when you consider how closely passengers sit together these days. Plus, with more flights in the air, the time for a thorough clean before the airplane is turned back around is limited. Therefore, germs on planes can be easily transmitted. So, how can you avoid getting sick on a flight?

Germ risks on flights.

Michael Batista of Medgadget recently sat down with Zoono’s Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) Dr Andrew Alexander, to discusses the importance of hand hygiene on flights. He mentioned that germs are often spread through touching contaminated hands and surfaces, especially norovirus and rotavirus. Then there’s respiratory diseases like the common cold. They can be spread just by close contact with sick individuals.

A major source of germs when travelling came from the plane toilets. Passengers who are sick can spread their germs to others through touching the door handles and sink faucet. Dr Alexander also notes that seat belt buckles and tray tables can also spread harmful pathogens.

How to avoid getting sick.

Luckily, there are some ways for people to avoid getting sick on a flight. Dr Alexander recommends five strategies to reduce the risk of catching something when flying:

  1. Before flying, make sure you get enough sleep and drink plenty of water.
  2. Wipe down the tray table as soon as you sit on the plane. Use a disinfectant spray or wipe like Microbe Shield.
  3. If someone is visibly ill, see if you can move seats.
  4. Cover your mouth with a tissue when other people are ill around you.
  5. Try to avoid the toilet, but if you have to go then wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds and apply a hand sanitiser.

Off-the-shelf doesn’t always help.

Above all, Dr Alexander referred to the process of hand washing as the best way to keep your hands sanitised. However, this doesn’t stop germs being transferred. He states that 80% of harmful pathogens are transmitted by hand.

Many off-the-shelf sanitisers are filled with a lot of harmful chemicals. Those can be harsher on the hands and will dry out the skin, causing cracks and damaging their protective barrier. Therefore, Dr Alexander endorses the use of a hand sanitiser without alcohol that can dry the skin. It also needs to protect for up to 24 hours.

Dr Alexander goes on to recommend Zoono’s hand sanitiser as it creates a ‘hostile barrier’ against germs even building up on the skin. It lasts for 24 hours on skin and 30 days on surfaces. Meaning you don’t just benefit from its protection, but your fellow passengers do too.

You can read the full interview in Medgadget.