Keeping Your Child Healthy on Airplanes

Many cold and flu viruses are transmitted when you touch surfaces. And when you’re on airplanes, 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 child’s nasal passages well moisturized.

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

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.



About the Author

Dr. Roy Benaroch is a pediatrician and assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Emory University in Atlanta. In addition to his work as a pediatrician, Dr. Roy has written two books for parents, Solving Health and Behavioral Problems from Birth to Preschool: A Parent's Guide and A Guide to Getting the Best Healthcare for Your Child. He lives in the Atlanta-area with his wife and three children.

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