The Truth About Catching an Illness on a Plane, and How to Avoid It
You may think the only differences between seats on an airplane are legroom, bathroom proximity, and your preference of aisle or window. But a new study finds that where you sit and who you sit next to can actually make a difference when it comes to picking up germs while on a plane.
Which Seat Should I Choose?
I prefer the window seat myself. And, it turns out, this preference could be good for my health. According to this new research, sitting in the window seat actually lowers your chance of getting sick, while sitting on the aisle increases it. This makes logical sense since the aisle seat exposes you more to the crew and other passengers, especially once the captain turns off that fasten seatbelt sign. So, if you prefer the window seat, you make think you’re in the clear. However, there’s a catch. You have to stay in your seat for the entire duration of the flight and not have any sick passengers sitting close to you.
How Can I Avoid Germs on Planes?
Maintaining proper hygiene like washing your hands often and coughing into your elbow can help minimize your chance of picking up germs. You can also wear a mask to ward off respiratory illnesses that are often launched into the air when sick people cough or sneeze. I’d also recommend that you avoid touching your face while in flight, especially your eyes or mouth. If someone very close to you appears to be sick, see if there are any open seats on the plane and ask to switch.
What Are My Chances of Getting Sick on Planes?
Many believe that traveling increases your risk of getting sick. But this study shows that a sick passenger on a plane is only likely to infect one to two other people at most. Even if a crew member is sick, the risk of infection is only about four or five other people. On average, the research shows that your average chance of infection is about 3%. So, as long as you’re taking precautionary steps to protect yourself against the cold and flu while you’re flying, your risk should be minimal.