A Frequent Flier's Germ Warfare Kit

5 Essential Items to Keep in Your Carry-on Bag
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1. Cough-suppressant drops. They're good for you, yes, but there's another reason to carry them on flights. Kindly offering them to fellow passengers who are coughing on you is a polite way to indicate that their coughing is bothering you.

2. Nose protection. Make sure your accessible toiletries contain nasal mist or saline nose spray to help combat the dry air inside the plane. Tea bags are another useful item to carry, as drinking hot liquids throughout the flight keeps your nasal passages moist, which can help fend off viruses.

3. Hand sanitizer. Studies show that sanitizing gel is a good alternative when you can't get up to wash your hands. Use it before you eat or touch your eyes or nose.

4. Alcohol-based disinfectant wipes. Use them to wipe down surfaces that you'll be touching.

5. Eye mask and ear plugs. They help you sleep, and sleep boosts your immune system.

Be sure to also check out our tips on what to do to protect yourself before you board the plane.

Melanie Haiken

Melanie Haiken discovered how important it is to provide accurate, targeted, usable health information to people facing difficult decisions when she was health editor of Parenting magazine. See full bio

about 7 years, said...

What is the latest research on air inside a plane? Is wearing a mask advisable?

over 8 years, said...

The very worst, shameful experience that passengers encounter when they have the misfortune to travel by air in America is the abuse to which they are subjected by the TSA (the transportation security administration). Most of us refer to them quite properly as the Gestapo. They are complete abomination and an abrogation of the bill of rights. They roam the airport's heaping threats and insults on innocent passengers and crew members and then feel free to open your luggage and rummage through your underwear without even a hint of a search warrant and in some instances actually swipe your property without compensation. The TSA Gestapo should be abolished at once and the bill of rights needs to be restored if America is ever to gain any shred of self respect.