Flying—How to avoid catching a cold or flu. Flying – How to avoid catching a cold or flu.
The AAA Traveler’s Companion, Nov-Dec 2005

Today 85% of commercial jets who have seating for 100 passengers or more have the cabin air recirculated through filters with a 50:50 mix of fresh and recirculated cabin air.

That mix screens out 99.97% of the bacteria and viruses that we are most concerned with when we take that passengers seat on any commercial jet. The most common ones being the cold, flu, even SARS.

According to John Burns, a professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, “low cabin pressure and low humidity, the proximity of all ill travelers, and other jet-leg stresses may be more influential as air circulation”.

There is no protection from the sneeze of your fellow passenger, who happens to be seated not to far away. The best ways you have of protecting yourself is to drink lots of fluid, wash you hands frequently, and use saline nose sprays and eye drops which can help sooth your irritated membranes.

It is a good idea to remember that not all planes are equipped with air cleaners, so do your part to keep healthy while traveling.