Why do so many people get sick after they fly?

This may seem obvious to those of you who travel frequently, but I read this article and thought it would be in all our best interest to share.  There are many good tips, read more to find them all!

6 Places Germs Breed on Airplanes…

By Douglas Wright
updated 1/20/2011 2:13:00 PM ET

Beware of airplane water, tray tables, seat pockets, pillows, and lavatories.

Flu season is in full swing, so it’s more important than ever to protect yourself against illness. We dug deep to identify the major germ zones on planes (and tips to avoid them). No, you’re not likely to contract meningitis, but better safe than sorry, right?

GERM ZONE: Water
FOR: E. coli, a common culprit behind stomach cramps

Your plane reaches 30,000 feet, the fasten-seat-belt sign switches off, and the flight attendant comes by to take your drink order: Coffee or tea? Ice water? They seem like innocent offers — until you consider that airplane water has been under review by the EPA for traces of E. coli for six years. A random sampling of 327 unnamed domestic and international aircraft caused a stir in 2004 when some water samples tested positive for E. coli, one strain of which is the leading cause of food poisoning in the U.S. Coffee and tea are brewed on board with such water and don’t typically reach hot enough temperatures to kill E. coli. When bottled water runs out, some planes have been known to fill fliers’ glasses from the tank. One British Airways crew member confessed to the London-based Times that, in those cases, the crew first has to wait for any cloudy “floating stuff” to settle out. And onboard tanks are small to limit their weight, so planes sometimes refill at foreign airports, where water standards can be questionable. The encouraging news is that water quality and control are improving: From 2005 to 2008, only 3.6 percent of samples tested positive for coliform bacteria, of which only a small fraction tested positive for E. coli. And in October 2011, the EPA’s Aircraft Drinking Water Rule, with more standardized, stringent disinfection and inspection regulations, will go into effect.

“TIP: Once you clear the security checkpoint, purchase a bottle of water to bring on board. When the flight attendant comes to take your order, stick to soda, juice, and other prepackaged liquids, minus the ice.  Bring your own pillow and light shawl or blanket if you must have one.  Pack hand sanitizer. They come in easy to use individual little packets.  Bring your favorite power bar , trail mix, or snack if the pre-packaged airline food does not appeal to you.”

…read more.

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