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Germs and bacteria also love the confined space of an airplane cabin. There are a lot of different ways these tiny dangers can enter the shared air of the cabin or the water on your next flight. We’ve put together a short list of things to consider on your next trip to keep you safe.

Low Cabin Humidity at High Elevations

The cabin of an airplane is a breeding ground for germs. The humidity in the cabin typically drops to under 10 percent on commercial airline flights. This is due to the high altitude of the plane and the lack of humidity in the higher elevations. The mucus in our noses and throats needs moisture in order to work. Without it, the membranes dry up and are not able to filter out the germs and particles floating through the air. Your mucous membranes are your first line of defense against everything floating around in the cabin of the airplane, and if they are not working you are at a significant disadvantage.

One way to combat this is by staying hydrated during your flight. Dehydration can also lead to other problems like headaches, cramps, fatigue, digestive issues and more. Make sure you are hydrated before you get on the plane and then continue sipping water throughout your trip. This will keep your tissues from drying out, giving you back your first line of defense.

Avoid Airplane Snacks, Coffee and Tea

However, recent research shows that the water used in coffee and tea made on an airplane may not be healthy. Water tested in multiple batches came back positive for over 20 different strains of bacteria. Airplanes that travel to undeveloped countries refill their tanks with water from that country, meaning the bacteria can sometimes build up in the tank.

Between open coffee stirrers and flight attendants handling various other items before giving you a bag of pretzels, germs can easily make their way into airplane food items. Not to mention, the close quarters mean your food is exposed to the guy sitting next to you – who may not even know what kind of virus he is traveling with.

If your flight is a long one, pack your own snacks. If you must eat what’s offered on the plane, ask to open your own drinks and avoid straws or stirrers that aren’t covered. When you eat, make sure you’ve rewashed or sanitized your hands – even if you did it before boarding. Germs can lurk even in freshly cleaned planes.

Keep Your Sanitizer Handy

Getting up to wash up may be impossible mid-air. Keeping a travel size hand sanitizer with you will ensure you keep your hands clean and prevent viruses. Just make sure your sanitizer is 3.4 oz or less to make it through airport security. Additionally, be mindful not to touch surfaces in the plane and then touch your face or your mouth.

Following these guidelines will help to keep you safe during your next flight. A little bit of caution goes a long way. Don’t ruin your trip by picking up an unwanted stowaway on your flight.

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