Flying Soon? Here's How to Avoid Catching a Cold

airplane in flight

In one study, researchers found that flight attendants who spent the most time in the air had higher incidences of sinus issues. While researchers didn't draw definitive conclusions from their study, the findings supported the wide-spread belief that air travel can be a cause of sinus-related illnesses and subsequent visits to an ENT doctor.

The most common reasons why you may get sick following air travel include:

  1. Cabin air supply — You're in close quarters everytime you board an airplane. Flights are often filled, and the chances are good that more than one person is carrying a potentially contagious cold virus of some kind. Cabin air supplies are cycled throughout the plane during the flight.
  2. Dryness — Cabin air is sealed off from outside environments and can be very dry. The longer you're on the plane, the more likely exposure to dry air can impact your mucous membranes and their natural ability to stay clean and contaminant free.
  3. Air pressure — Changes in cabin air pressure can have an adverse effect on sinuses and their ability to fend off bacteria.

You're not at the complete mercy of cold viruses and germs every time you fly, and there are steps you can take before, during, and after your flight to reduce your risks of getting sick.

  1. Wash your hands before and after your flight, and avoid touching your face.
  2. Use sanitizing wipes to clean the tray table before using it. Tray tables have the distinction of being the most germ-laden surfaces on an airplane.
  3. Rest up, drink plenty of fluids, and eat a nutritious meal in preparation for your trip.

If despite your precautions, you get sick following your trip, your ENT doctor can help. Contact us at Southwest Idaho Ear Nose and Throat for an appointment with an ENT doctor today.