Great Britain

From sitting in the window seat to wiping down the armrest – how to avoid catching a cold from a plane

IF you always find yourself getting sick on a plane, thankfully there are some clever ways you can reduce the risk of getting ill.

From where to sit to what you do, it can all make a difference in keeping you healthy.

The English Institute of Sport has issued guidelines to athletes travelling from the UK to Tokyo for the Olympic Games next year.

Getting ill on a plane could put the competitors at risk of missing their sport altogether, so staying healthy is important.

Dr Craig Ranson, its director of athlete health, said: "'We ran an illness prevention campaign last year, too, and whether it was a direct result or not we had 40 per cent less illnesses last January than previously."

With respiratory illnesses some of the easiest to catch on a flight, here are some of the top tips on how to avoid a cold.

Choose a window seat away from the toilet

Window seats mean you are not as close to other passengers than in the aisle seats, which sees more people walk past.

Vicki Stover Hertzberg of Emory University in Atlanta advises: "Get in that window seat and don't move."

The toilet is also going to have high footfall from passengers, meaning more people to get sick from.

Staying away from the bathroom can reduce your risk of infectious travellers walking past.

Wipe down the tray, armrests and seatbelt

Tests conducted on the tray table, armrests and seatbelt have previously revealed some horrifying dirt left behind.

A company called Marketplace swabbed five spots on 19 short-haul flights - the seatbelt, tray table, headrest, seat pocket and washroom handle.

Half the surfaces that were tested had high levels of bacteria, yeast or mould that would put a person at risk of serious infection.

Using antibacterial spray or wipes is advised - something which Naomi Campbell has explained she does when she boards flights.

Naomi Campbell posts video of her travel routine which shows her cleaning her plane seat and everything around it with anti-bacterial wipes

Turn on the air vent to "move" airborne bugs away

Experts have explained how the force of the air vent can help keep bacteria in the air away.

Directing the nozzle on the face and hands can keep away small germs which linger in the air.

Dr. Mark Gendreau — the medical director and vice chair of emergency medicine at Lahey Medical Center-Peabody, and an expert on the spread of infectious diseases previously told Travel + Leisure that air is filtered every up to "30 times every hour" but this can leave some airborne infections.

He added: "As a rule of thumb, the air that you’re typically breathing and exposed to is usually anywhere from two to five rows surrounding your seat."

The air can push the bacteria to the floor of the plane, stopping passengers from breathing it in.

One passenger was left horrified by the amount of grime left on the plane seat after using a wipe to clean it.

Flight attendants have warned passengers to wash their hands after using the seat pockets, as items like dirty tissues and gum are put inside them.

A man was shamed online after putting his dirty, bare feet on the plane in-flight entertainment screen.

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