Sniffle Solutions: Expert Q+A

June 21st, 2010 10:14pm

My daughter almost always gets sick after we return home from a trip on an airplane. Is there anything I can do to keep her healthy?

By Dr. Roy Benaroch for Sniffle Solutions

Many cold and flu viruses are transmitted when you touch surfaces. And when you’re on an airplane, you’re touching armrests and tray tables that may not be very clean. Since so many people are touching the same surfaces, it’s all too easy to pick up germs on your hands.

So always have your child wash hands thoroughly before and after using the bathroom on a plane. And when you can’t get access to a sink and soap, use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60 percent alcohol. If you’re worried about the drying effects of alcohol, use a hand sanitizer that has added moisturizers, like aloe.

And since the air on planes is so dry and uncomfortable, you might also want to bring along some saline nasal spray, which you can use to help keep both yours and your daughter’s nasal passages well moisturized.

It’s also important to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water — that goes for you and your daughter.

Finally, try to avoid sick people when possible. If you’re sitting next to someone who’s coughing and sniffling and the flight is not full, speak up and politely ask a flight attendant if you can move to different seats.