Up in the Air and Under the Weather: How to Avoid Getting Sick

Don’t forget your neti pot, road warriors!

Business travel can sometimes declare war on your body, let alone your antibodies. Your probability of catching the sniffles increases 20 percent for frequent flyers after sitting for hours next to a sneezing, coughing, germ-ridden passenger. Take all the Airborne you want – eventually, that poor suffering person becomes you!

Travelers are particularly susceptible to sniffles at this time of the year, when the cold and flu season coincides with wild weather. And more often than not, business travelers have a hard time kicking the cough after passing around germs through handshakes, airports and public restrooms.

For those sick and tired of feeling sick and tired after a business trip, Concur is offering up some helpful tips for maintaining good health on the road.

Choose your seat wisely – When reserving your seat, try to sit in the most stable part of the plane – along the wings. The movement in this area is less dramatic than the rest of the plane, which should help with motion sickness (and turbulence).

Let them eat light – Nausea on a flight can be the pits. Eat light meals before and during your flight, and reduce your intake of acids, including chewing gum, candy or coffee. Try peppermints or powdered ginger instead – these are known to help curb a queasy belly.

Recycled cabin air makes you sick? – Not true! Studies have shown HEPA filters can remove 99 percent of viruses and bacteria. Be more wary of when the plane is idle, like when passengers come on and off the plane and the incidence of sharing germs is higher.

Clean hands, healthy heart – Using hand sanitizer or washing frequently with soap and water can greatly reduce your susceptibility to colds and flus. Airlines are not routinely required to clean lavatories, seats trays, overhead compartments, or other areas frequently “touched,” so experts say watch where you put your hands. It’s often a cesspool of germs.

It’s in the bag – Whether it’s germs on your suitcase handle or even (eek!) bedbugs, cleaning out your carry-on is worth a shot. Expert neat freaks recommend disinfectant wipes to periodically clean your bag’s exterior. If you’ve got some itchy hitchhikers on the inside, wash all its contents in a hot cycle, and spray the bag with 91 percent isopropyl alcohol to kill the critters. Most importantly, keep you bag away from your bed!

Drink water, not wine – The air up there can get pretty dry, which parches your nasal passages. Keep hydrated with clean water and save the liquor for later.