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No one likes to get ill, especially before or during a long-awaited trip. We asked readers to share their tips for how to avoid getting sick on a plane or while traveling so you can enjoy yourself—not be stuck in the hotel room.
Avoid Getting Sick While Flying or While Traveling
Written By: Tae Haahr
Table Of Contents
When it comes to travel, many of us have a fear of getting sick. We want to avoid it at all costs, both before we head out or while we’re there. Otherwise, our exciting trip might turn into a sad week in the hotel room.
Luckily, TFG readers are well-versed in this area. From a reusable face mask to the best medicine for cold and flu, they share their tips and tricks to ward off potential sickness during or before travel.
Note: If you’re concerned about environmental factors or health alerts when traveling, consult the proper agencies or visit a doctor to recieve medical assistance. This post entails readers recommendations only on their experiences dealing with illness and traveling, and is not the opinion or point of view of TFG.
How to Fight Sickness Before Travel
Use Immune Support Throat Spray
Host Defense provides an easy-to-use immune support product. You simply spray in your mouth and let it work its magic. With a refreshing peppermint taste and a travel-friendly bottle size, it can be taken with you!
One TFG reader shares, “Always use this before I fly.” For an option that’s easy to bring along, this might just be what you’re searching for.
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Load up on Super Vitamins Preflight
Readers share that they “load up on Emergen-C with zinc and vitamin D” before getting on the plane to help fight off any bugs that might be milling about in the environment. You can get these powdered packs that you mix into water and drink them daily to boost your immune system.
One reader shares, “I like to drink Emergen-C orange flavor. Tastes like orange juice so it’s easy to drink every morning.” While another says that her family starts drinking Emergen-C a few days before our trips. “I know some people think it’s a waste but we don’t get sick so I believe it helps (and can’t hurt)!” Also, recommended by readers? Getting the flu shot.
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Arm Yourself with Airborne Tablets
Airborne has easy-to-take tablets packed with vitamins A, C, and E, which combined with a few other goodies help support your immune system. One reader says, “Believe it or not I have taken Airborne while everybody around me was sick and I never caught it more than once.”
In fact, many readers suggest using both elderberry gummies and Airborne together. One shares, “I start taking Airborne about a week before traveling and continue taking while traveling. If I start to feel any symptoms I also take an elderberry supplement which seems to prevent getting full-blown sick in most cases.”
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Chew on Elderberry Gummies
TFG readers are believers in using supplemental immune supports like Zarbee’s Elderberry syrup that can “breakdown viruses to weaken them.” And help keep you in tip-top shape for your next trip. Plus, they go down easily because they’re in gummy form.
One reader shares, “I almost hate to say it, but I’ve traveled extensively this past year and have used Elderberry gummies. I haven’t been sick at all this year. I’ve used these consistently.” While another shares that they travel more than 150 days a year for work, and “haven’t so much as a cold after 21 trips” last year.
Another reader tip to ward off illness that could be an alternative to Zarbee’s is Sambucol elderberry gummies which also packs a powerful protective punch.
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Shorten Colds With Zinc
Many travelers experience the signs of getting sick right before travel. Sometimes it could be a common cold going around, or you’ve been working your butt off to prepare for your trip but haven’t taken the time to slow down. In either case, maybe something like Zicam can help.
To counteract the signs of getting sick, one reader shares that they “take Zicam zinc chewables and Vitamin C a couple of days before a flight just to boost up my immune system.”
Another reader says, “I take some ‘Zicam’ with me on any trip and try to take one the day I depart anywhere and keep it going for at least two days! It helps a lot along with wiping down seats and trays.”
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How to Fight Sickness on the Plane
Alternatively, if you don’t want to cart around another canister of wipes in addition to your seat disinfectors, then a bottle of Clorox bleach-free hand spray will do the trick. It both kills bacteria and adds a little moisture to your hands.
One reader shares, “I found out that Clorox makes a hand sanitizer that kills norovirus. Apparently, not all of them do.” So choose your hand sanitizer wisely!
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Wipe Down with Disinfectant Wipes
If you do nothing else that TFG readers suggest, definitely consider wiping down the seats, seat tray, touchscreen, and armrests when you get on the plane with something like Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. Almost every reader sounding in says it’s a quick-and-easy way to help avoid catching anything.
One reader shares a tip, “Wipe down everything you will touch on the plane with antibacterial wipes—even the headrest and especially the tray table and armrests.” While another mentions that even though her husband thinks it looks weird, she wipes everything down when she’s on solo trips.
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However, If you’re looking for something more heavy-duty, one reader says, “if people are really serious about wiping things down, you need medical grade wipes, not just antibacterial wet wipes.” That’s where Clorox Healthcare grade wipes come in.
These bad boys add a little extra oomph in the cleaning department when it comes to fighting germs. While most wipes are simply antibacterial, these are built to knock germs out of the park. And yes, they are non-corrosive and non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about any harsh chemicals.
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Use Hand Sanitizer Frequently
Keeping your hands clean is essential for avoiding germs that might poorly affect your vacation, so consider using Purell hand wipes, which are offered in this handy canister that can pack and go.
One reader shares, “I also use Purell on my hands after using the lavatory, despite washing them. It’s amazing how many things you touch on the way back to your seat, like overhead bin compartments, seatbacks, lav doorknob, etc.!”
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Dab on Essential Oils
Adding essential oils to the mix while you’re on the plane like doTerra On Guard+ is helpful and it comes in both soft gels or in oil and works wonders.
One reader shares a few tips for On Guard+ for the oil that includes dabbing a bit on the bottoms of your feet before you go, she “uses a diffuser necklace or bracelet and put some drops on the lava stones in them and wear it, or you can carry on the oil, open during the flight and sniff it.”
Another adds, “I dab a little behind my ears, and sometimes I will dab a very small amount right on the outside of my nostrils.” The supplements are simple, just take as directed and sit easy in your chair as take-off happens.
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How to Protect Yourself and Others From Germs
Use a Cloth Reusable Face Mask
Airborne germs are definitely present, especially if you have a weaker immune system or are traveling with something you caught right before your trip. In that case, readers recommend giving a face mask a try.
The Debrief Me mask is a reusable cloth face mask with filter add-ons. It comes with four filters, is made from high-quality cotton and also blocks dust. One TFG reader shares, “I’m currently battling cancer, and have to wear a mask when in public, to protect myself. Amazon has many good ones, the one I bought came with several replacement filters.”
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Get a Reusable Face Mask With Filter
If you’re traveling to a destination that is experiencing some air pollution and want something hearty, the BASE CAMP dustproof mask has activated carbon filters to help get rid of germs floating around the air and also block out 99 percent of other irritant elements such as exhaust, dust, fumes, and so on.
It’s neoprene shell and over the ear design is made for comfort and ease with the nose clip and loop strap helping you avoid accidental slippage.
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Double Down on a High Filtration Mask
Another heavy-duty option is Vogmask. Readers like this mask because it “is N99 compliant, comfortable, washable, and comes in cool patterns.”
One reader shares her experience in China. “Here in Beijing, we use reusable Vogmasks and IDMasks at home. Vogmasks are for AQI <150 days, and >150 days we use the IDMasks. I wouldn’t suggest an IDMask for illness prevention but the Vogmask would be fine.”
Alternatively, you can go with a traditional disposable face mask. One reader shares, “Honestly, I wear a hospital mask on the plane. I feel super self-conscious but it’s worth it for me because I have a compromised immune system.”
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Product Comparison Chart
|How to Fight Sickness Before Travel|
|Host Defense MycoShield Multi Mushroom Spray Peppermint||“Always use this before I fly.”||Check Price|
|Emergen-C Super Orange||“I like to drink Emergen-C orange flavor. Tastes like orange juice so it's easy to drink every morning.”||Check Price|
|Airborne kgOQiK Tablets||“I start taking Airborne about a week before traveling and continue taking while traveling. If I start to feel any symptoms I also take an elderberry supplement which seems to prevent getting full blown sick in most cases.”||Check Price|
|Zarbee's Naturals Elderberry Immune Support||“I almost hate to say it, but I've traveled extensively this past year and have used Elderberry gummies. I haven't been sick at all this year. I've used these consistently.”||Check Price|
|Zicam Rapidmelts Citrus Flavor (2 Pack)||“take Zicam zinc chewables and Vitamin C a couple of days before a flight just to boost up my immune system.”||Check Price|
|How to Fight Sickness on the Plane|
|Clorox CLO 02174 Bleach-Free Hand Sanitizer||“I found out that Clorox makes a hand sanitizer that kills norovirus. Apparently, not all of them do.”||Check Price|
|Clorox Disinfecting Wipes Value Pack||“Wipe down everything you will touch on the plane with antibacterial wipes—even the headrest and especially the tray table and armrests.”||Check Price|
|Clorox Healthcare Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant Wipes||“if people are really serious about wiping things down, you need medical grade wipes, not just antibacterial wet wipes.”||Check Price|
|PURELL Hand Sanitizing Wipes||“I also use Purell on my hands after using the lavatory, despite washing them. It's amazing how many things you touch on the way back to your seat, like overhead bin compartments, seatbacks, lav doorknob, etc.!”||Check Price|
|doTERRA - On Guard+ Softgels Essential Oil Protective Blend||“I dab a little behind my ears, and sometimes I will dab a very small amount right on the outside of my nostrils.”||Check Price|
|How to Protect Yourself and Others From Germs|
|Debrief Me Anti Air Respirator Breathable Pollution Masks||“I'm currently battling cancer, and have to wear a mask when in public, to protect myself. Amazon has many good ones, the one I bought came with several replacement filters.”||Check Price|
|BASE CAMP Activated Carbon Dustproof Mask||It’s neoprene shell and over the ear design is made for comfort and ease with the nose clip and loop strap helping you avoid accidental slippage.||Check Price|
|Vogmask Microfiber High Filtration Mask||“is N99 compliant, comfortable, washable, and comes in cool patterns.”||Check Price|
How to Wear Face Masks
When it comes to wearing a face mask, make sure that you have it on right side up, it should have a stiff but bendable end. Inspect it for holes and tears to ensure there are none. And put it on according to the instructions.
TFG readers suggest making sure that your mask fits you properly. Likewise, make sure that if you are using a disposable mask you only use it once. And if you’re using a mask with filters, make sure you switch out the filters according to the instructions given.
When it comes to a face mask rating, you’ll likely see descriptions like N95, N99, and so on. Here is an easy way to remember what these ratings mean when looking for one:
- N – Not oil resistant
- 95 – Removes 95% of all particles
- 99 – Removes 99% of particles
- 100 – Removes 99.97% of all particles and is HE or HEPA quality filter
Usually, the best masks for sickness are a rating of N95 or N99, according to readers who searched for one.
What Are the Uses of Face Masks Other Than Illness?
Beyond mitigating sickness on an airplane, face masks have a few other purposes during your travels, including:
- Blocking airborne germs
- Blocking dust and other contaminants (with a dust mask)
- Blocking dangerous fumes (with a paint mask), exhaust, or smoke
It is important to note that a dusk mask and a medical face mask are not the same things. A traditional medical mask that you’d see in the hospital will not protect you from air quality. If you are traveling somewhere that a face mask is recommended to protect you against air quality issues, make sure you are wearing the right kind.
Other Tips for Minimizing the Risk of Getting Sick
While you can use products and supplements to help boost your chances of avoiding catching a cold or picking up germs while you’re traveling, there are a few other things you can do.
TFG readers suggest the following to keep in tip-top shape:
- Stay hydrated—bring a reusable water bottle that you can refill
- Eat healthily (add fruits and vegetables if they are readily available)
- Sanitize everything (seat belts, seat, trays, etc.)
- Wash your hands frequently
One reader who has worked in the medical field shares her tips on staying healthy. “Wash your hands with soap and water with proper technique, don’t touch your nose/mouth/face, stay hydrated. If you choose to wear a mask, ensure that it is properly fitted for you and wear it correctly—I see so many no-nos with people wearing masks.”
What are your tips on how to avoid getting sick on a plane or while traveling? Share and comment below!
For more travel health tips, please read:
- 5 Wellness Tips to Stay Healthy While Traveling
- A Healthy Back is the Most Important Thing You Can Pack
- How to Stay Healthy While Traveling: Dealing with Medical Emergencies Abroad
- These are the Best Airplane Snacks to Pack for Long Flights
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