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No one likes to get sick, but this is especially the case when you’re traveling. 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 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 best tips, tricks, and products to ward off potential sickness during or before travel.
Note: The recommendations shared in this post are those of readers and are not based on the opinions or POV of TFG. Readers recommend that you prepar in advance as items like face masks can sell out quickly.
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.
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 share, “I start taking Airborne about a week before traveling and continue taking it 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 gummies 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.
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 chewable 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 on 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.”
How to Fight Sickness on the Plane
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 Auliné Collection mask is a reusable cloth face mask with a carbon filter, which blocks dust, exhaust, and more. 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 wants something hearty, this mask has activated carbon filters to help get rid of germs floating around the air and also block out other irritant elements such as exhaust, dust, fumes, and so on.
It’s made of premium-grade medical cloth with elasticity and covers the back of the head so it won’t slip off, helping you avoid accidental slippage.
Double Down on a Collapsible Mask
Another heavy-duty option is Lutema. Readers like this mask because it “is comfortable and is secure.” It’s also collapsible and can be stored in a small space when done using it.
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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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 From Germs on Board
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 PDI germicidal wipes come in.
These bad boys add a little extra oomph to 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 scent-free and readers say are very effective to quickly clean surfaces when traveling.
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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 travel 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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Alternatively, if you don’t want to cart around another canister of wipes in addition to your seat disinfectors, then a bottle of PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer will do the trick. It both kills bacteria and adds a little moisture to your hands.
One reader shares, “I found out that Purell makes a hand sanitizer that kills the virus. Apparently, not all of them do.” So choose your hand sanitizer wisely!
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Product Comparison Chart
BRAND | MODEL
FEATURES | REVIEWS
RATING | PRICE
How to Fight Sickness Before Travel
Host Defense MycoShield Multi Mushroom Spray Peppermint
“Always use this before I fly.”
Emergen-C Super Orange
“I like to drink Emergen-C orange flavor. Tastes like orange juice so it's easy to drink every morning.”
Airborne Vitamin C Chewable Tablets with Zinc
“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.”
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.”
Zicam Rapidmelts Citrus Flavor
“Take Zicam zinc chewables and Vitamin C a couple of days before a flight just to boost up my immune system.”
How to Fight Sickness on the Plane
Auliné Collection Washable Reusable Face Mask
“Auliné Collection has many good ones, the one I bought came with several replacement filters.”
Face Bandana Activated Carbon Filter Mask
It’s made of premium grade medical cloth with elasticity and covers the back of the head so it won’t slip off, helping you avoid accidental slippage.
Lutema Anti-Pollution Breathable Face Mask Unisex
“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.”
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.”
How to Protect Yourself From Germs on Board
Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
“Wipe down everything you will touch on the plane with antibacterial wipes—even the headrest and especially the tray table and armrests.”
PDI Super Sani-Cloth Germicidal Disposable Wipe, Individual
“If people are really serious about wiping things down, you need medical grade wipes, not just antibacterial wet wipes.” That’s where PDI germicidal wipes come in.
Purell Hand Sanitizing Wipes
“I also use Purell on my hands after using the lavatory, despite washing them."
PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer
“I found out that Purell makes a hand sanitizer that kills virus. Apparently, not all of them do.”
How to Wear Face Masks
When it comes to wearing a face mask, make sure that you have it on the 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 have 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 where a face mask is recommended to protect you against air quality issues, make sure you are wearing the right kind.
Other Tips From Readers on 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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