Spring is near, which means only one thing: Vacation season! Well, it also means warmer weather, but also vacation. However, the 2018 flu season is also one of the worst on record, which could easily get in the way of any travel plans — especially if those plans involve taking a flight. So, it's worth asking: Is it safe to fly when you have the flu? Even if you really, really be careful where you sneeze? For the sake of your health and to keep the rest of your flight quarantined, you might want to check into delaying your departure date.
I get it. You bought the tickets and you're bags are packed. Then the flu sneaks into your body and attacks like some cruel joke you swear you don't deserve. On top of maybe missing a trip to the tropics, your not just about to battle germs. You're going to have to go up against airlines to see if you can change your ticket or get a refund. But don't just brave the nauseau with a medical mask. Your comfort and health, as well as all the people on your flight will be put at risk.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, February and March are the height of flu season. It's also not a bad time to take a trip. Think twice before you decide to roll out of your house and into the airport.
Take it from a top travel site. Orbitz.com spoke with Dr. John Brian Bronson, M.D., who helped illuminate the situation: "Cabin pressure changes, and that stale, dry air can wreak havoc on your immune system," he said. In other words, your body at a soaring altitude of 30,000 feet is impacted differently than when you're on the ground. Dr. Bronson listed a myriad of potential affects that you would make a sick flight seem like a constricted cage of misery. The reduced oxygen doesn't help on a plane, either: you might feel more dehydrated, exacerbating your need for liquids when you're sick. Jet lag and air pressure can lead to ear pain as well as headaches, plopping the cherry on top of a wicked fever. If you have a fever at all, you might want to think about postponing your trip.
People on planes cough and sneeze regularly — and if they happen to have the flu, it could be easy for them to spread it as well. Our fellow passengers are travel companions for a few hours, but they're also health threats. CBS New York reports, "The recycled dry air also makes it easier for flu and other respiratory illnesses to get passed around." You don't want to be the person who ruins trips for the hundreds of other passengers on your 747 petri dish — I mean, airplane.
Since Oct. 1, 2017 there have been 144,910 cases of influenza (the flu) in the United States, as reported by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2017-2018 season is no joke. Based on how fast the flu can spread, especially in a confined area of recycled air, it's safe to say that it isn't all that safe to fly with the flu. For the sake of your well being and recovery as well as the state of health of fellow passengers.
That doesn't mean, unfortunately, that people with the flu don't fly. It's hard to cancel a flight. CNN reported that a TripAdvisor survey of 2,300 people resulted in 51 percent of people admitting they would fly while infected with the flu. Yikes. Medical masks and even Meghan Markle's favorite hygienic in flight cleaning sprays won't do their due diligence of keeping you flu free.
If you're feeling like you're coming down with something before a trip, seek medical advice and treatment as soon as possible from your health care provider. That way you can be on the road to feeling better, and hopefully well before your flight departs.