How to avoid illness on a plane: Don't sit in the aisle seat

Stay healthy at one of the busiest times of year for air travel

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The Independent Travel

A combination of cramped seating, dry air and jet lag means that most people don’t feel their best when they disembark an aeroplane – but where you choose to sit during a flight could have a bigger impact than you think.

Passengers who sit in the aisle are more likely to fall ill than those who sit in a window or middle seat, io9 previously reported.

With Christmas fast approaching, people all over the globe will be jetting off on holiday or to visit friends and family in foreign lands.

No one wants to be ill over the festive season, but there are a few simple ways to ensure you arrive at your destination in tip-top condition.

Avoid the aisle seat
Those sitting on the end of the row are at a higher risk of picking up a virus during their journey, according to microbiologist Charles Gerba, of the University of Arizona's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

This is because they are the ones most likely to come into contact with other passengers harbouring potential bacteria and viruses, as they move up and down the plane. Additionally those passengers tend to hold onto the aisle seats for balance, increasing the risk of any diseases being passed on.

Gerba referred to a flight from Boston to Los Angles in 2008, on which members of a tour group who had contracted norovirus experienced uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhoea on board.

Out of the infected passengers who were not part of the tour group, the majority were sitting in aisle seats.

 

Use disinfectant
Every surface in a plane is a hotbed of germs: armrests, tray tables and, especially, the toilets. Keeping your immediate area as clean as possible with disinfectant wipes and sprays and washing your hands regularly is the best way to ward off the germs.

Don’t worry about the air quality
Although a plane's air supply is recirculated, it is also combined with fresh air from outside, which is taken in via the compressor section of the engines. Once inside the plane the air passes through filters, so you can breathe easy.

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