Experts reveal where the germs are hiding and how to stay healthy and comfortable while airborne.
1. Please! Don’t walk around barefoot
Flight attendants have seen everything from vomit to blood to spilled food hit that carpet.
“We see people walking from their seats into the bathrooms all the time barefoot and we cringe because those floors are full of germs,” said Linda Ferguson, a flight attendant for 24 years.
“Never walk barefoot into the bathroom or the galley area because sometimes we drop glasses and there could be sharp glass there, too.”
2. Skip the ice in your drink
An EPA study in 2004 found that out of 327 aircraft’s water supplies, only 15 per cent passed health standards.
Since the 2009 creation of the EPA’s Aircraft Drinking Rule Act, standards have risen and most airplanes don’t serve drinking water from the tap, but their ice cubes, however, are often still made from the same water.
“Water tanks on an airplane are old and they’ve tested them and bacteria is in those tanks,” said Ferguson. “I would definitely drink bottled water – that’s why they board tonnes of bottles on an airplane.”
3. Don’t sit in your seat the entire flight
On an airplane, you are at a higher risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a type of blood clot that usually forms in your legs.
DVT has been coined as ‘economy-class syndrome’, and walking around for a few minutes or standing up to stretch are good bets to help prevent it. (Just remember to put your shoes on!)
Also, try to avoid tight clothing that could cut off circulation while in flight.
“The most important thing is to try to move around and move your legs at least once every hour,” said Catherine Sonquist Forest, MD, a primary care doctor at Stanford University Health Care.
“If you can’t get up, you can do exercises in your seat by lifting alternate knees up to your chest and twisting in your chair from side to side.”