How to avoid getting sick on your next flight

Are you one of those people who often gets a cold or the sniffles after a flight? If so, then this article is for you!

With the festive season literally right on the doorstep, many of us will be traveling nationally or internationally by air, to get to where we’ll be celebrating with family and friends – which makes getting ill from the flight not only an inconvenience, but can detract from enjoying your precious time off.

Why do people get sick on flights?

Studies have shown that people are 20% more susceptible to germs and illness while flying. This is due to a number of factors, the most common being the proximity to a large number of people (on the airplane and in the airports), shared air within the cabin of the aircraft and low cabin humidity.

What can you do to avoid getting ill?

Before the flight

Prevention is obviously better than cure, so focus on making sure that you’re healthy before you fly. Stress also plays a role – often when we go from a high-stress situation to a low-stress situation, our bodies start to relax and can become more sensitive to germs. If you are an anxious traveller, make sure that you start planning way in advance to minimise the stress you put on your body just before you leave.

If you’re prone to getting ill after a flight, start taking a natural immune boosting anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory remedy like Echinaforce from Vogel. Many frequent flyers swear by this, saying it keeps them healthy and sniffle free, regardless of how long the flight is.

During the flight

There is some debate over whether or not the air-conditioning system in a plane causes the spread of germs, but what is certain to make you more vulnerable to illness is the low cabin pressure, which leads to dryness. We’ve all felt it – the dry mouth, skin and nose. This dehydration leads to the mucous membranes, which trap germs, drying up – leaving us literally defenceless.

What you’ll need to do is make sure that you stay hydrated by:

Drinking water as often as possible. It doesn’t need to be a lot, but make sure that you stay properly hydrated. Nasal mists help to keep your nasal passages well lubricated, you can also apply some lip balm to the inside of your nose to act as a DIY lubricant, if you’re really struggling.

Ordering a hot drink and breathing in the steam can also help to keep your nasal passages fortified, and stimulates the natural production of mucus, so is a great way to kick-start your mucous membranes if you feel that they’ve shut down.

Wash hands regularly. Tray tables, arm-rests, air vents and toilet flushers often carry the most germs on a plane, so make sure that you wash your hands before and after every meal, as well as keeping your fingers away from your eyes and mouth. You can use a hand sanitiser too if you have one, or an antibacterial wipe to just wipe down all the areas mentioned above, before settling in.

Stay warm. Make sure you dress in lightweight layers when you fly so that you can add or remove clothing as your own body temperature changes.


If you flew internationally, and especially if you crossed time-zones or didn’t get much sleep on your long-haul flight, then make sure you schedule some time to rest and recover. Germs can’t take hold if they aren’t given an opportunity, so be kind to yourself, especially if you suffer from jet lag.

Don’t let a cold or worse, the flu ruin your festive season! Try some of these tips and if you have any of your own, let us know.

Cheap International Flights' press office