For those of you who never rub your nose, touch your mouth or bite your fingernails, move along, there’s nothing to see here.
Everybody else, listen up!
Your hands are gonna make you sick if you don’t keep them off your nose, mouth and eyes. According to a recent article in WebMD, “about 80% of infectious diseases are transmitted by touch.” So it’s not sitting near the guy hackin’ and coughin’ in the window seat that’s the only menace. It’s grabbing the hand rail he just slobbered all over, and then mindlessly touching your mouth while you’re composing that e-mail to your boss. Sure, cold and flu germs are everywhere, and airplanes (contrary to popular belief) are no more germ-infested than any other public venue. We’re just forced to sit a lot closer together when we get into those flying beer cans.
But sooner or later you’ve got to get on the plane and endure close quarters with everybody else to get to your destination, so what are ya gonna do?
For starters, you’ve got to keep your hands clean. According to the CDC, basic hand washing is the single most important way to prevent the spread of viral and bacterial infections. Then, there’s keeping them clean – which is a whole different matter. You grab the armrest, put down the tray table and then unconsciously scratch your nose, which is getting dried out by the sub-Saharan air they circulate on those flights…
As an additional, and maybe more effective line of defense, you can protect yourself with a mask. By covering your nose and mouth, You’re not only less likely to breathe in the germs the hacker in the window seat is spewing, but you’re also not mindlessly picking up germs from what you’ve just touched. A mask also keeps you from picking your nose, which is not only super unhealthy; it’s just gross… or as Jimmy Fallon might say, ew! Wearing a mask keeps you more conscious of where your hands have been and reminds you to wash them before taking it off.
Sure, Americans have a ‘thing’ about seeing somebody with a mask on – “what’s wrong with you, dude?” But the rest of the world seems to have gotten over the stigma, and my guess is that Americans are not far behind with these recent health scares. But frankly, I don’t care what anybody thinks when they look at me, all safe and comfy in a MyAir Comfort Mask (my personal preference). Because that’s as good lookin’ as masks get, and I’m going to arrive on the other end of this flight with my respiratory system well hydrated and germ free.