49 states are reporting widespread flu activity. In San Diego County there have been 142 flu-related deaths. What can we do to be the first line of defense against the flu? ABC News spoke with Dr. Nicholas Testa who had these very helpful tips when flying.
- Wipe down communal hard surfaces on airplanes, such as tray tables or armrests.
Testa told ABC News - "The flu virus will live on a hard surface for about 24 hours, they (crews) don’t have time to wipe every single tray station, so intrinsically the bathroom is cleaner than out here."
- Make sure to turn the overhead air on - Dr. Ray Casciari -Physician at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange suggests pointing the air towards the back of you. The air on most planes is circulated through a system that filters it from ceiling to floor every two minutes.
- Dr. Testa says to avoid "germ zones" let others board before you -when passengers tend to group together while waiting to take their seat, this is where many germs are spread. Even in the terminal, standing close together in tightly packed lines is not recommended.
- Choose a window seat, there is less traffic.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol while flying. Both are shown to increase your dehydration and decrease your immune system. No good!
- Testa said using nasal spray "keeps your mucous membranes moist."
"One of the things we’ve noticed, particularly on airplanes, is that as soon as your mucous membranes, particularly in your nose and your mouth, start to dry out, we lose one of the most valuable defenses for preventing respiratory viruses,"