Flight attendants reveal how they never get sick

Airplanes are pretty gross. Between a lot of people, and even more germs, you should definitely think twice before touching the air vents on a plane. Flight attendants don’t have much of a choice in the matter, though, and are constantly exposed to a barrage of bacteria. Yet somehow, they never get sick.

If you’re the type of person who feels sick after a single one-hour flight, you may be wondering how cabin crew members manage to stay healthy, despite being incredibly frequent flyers. Well, wonder no more, because several flight attendants have revealed how they never get sick at work and how you can adopt the same strategies.

Flight attendants reveal how they never get sick
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Flight attendants reveal how they never get sick

Stay hydrated

Taylor Strickland, the lead cabin attendant for Alerion Aviation, has only called in sick once during her career. Her top tip? Drink “a ton of water” while flying. “It’s dehydrating to fly, and if you’re dehydrated, your body’s a little weaker, which makes it harder to fight off the germs you’re encountering,” she tells Reader’s Digest. Similarly, Lauren Guilfoyle, a cabin crew member for Emirates Airline says that she buys a liter of water before each flight and drinks it during the trip.

But avoid tap water, coffee, or tea

Even though you should definitely stay hydrated, it’s best to avoid these beverages. Among other things, a 2015 study on the water quality on airplanes found that the water tanks are “conducive for microbial growth.” Instead, ask for bottled water or bring your own.

Use moist towelettes on your hands

Not only is it refreshing to clean your hands with some wet wipes like these or moist towelettes, but it also helps keep germs at bay. In addition to wet wipes, Guilfoyle also stays refreshed by using a hydrating mist and putting argan oil on her face.

Take an immune system support supplement

Even though the immune system booster Airborne lacks the science to back up the product’s claims, people still swear by it as a way to prevent getting sick. Strickland is one of those people and says that she always keeps it stocked on the plane as a preemptive measure. “It’s great because they make the small packets to travel with and now they make gummies,” she notes.

Disinfect the plane’s surfaces

Unfortunately, many parts of airplanes aren’t cleaned the way they should, so sometimes you need to take matters into your own hands. Strickland always carries around travel packs of Wet Ones wipes, and during a flight, she wipes down surfaces with Clorox Wipes to disinfect as much as possible.

But never eat directly off of tray tables

While it’s a good idea to bring your own antibacterial wipes and clean your tray table, you’re still safer not eating off of it directly. “The dirtiest part of the plane has to be the tray tables—people constantly lay their heads, change babies’ diapers, and rest their feet on them,” a flight attendant for JetBlue told Business Insider. “I wouldn’t eat off of that even after sanitizing it.”

Juice it up

Strickland is also a fan of drinking different green juices that incorporate ingredients like ginger and lemon. “Most may think they’re a fad, but it helps me get different nutrients on the go,” she says. If you’re looking for other suggestions, here are 10 fruit juices that are healthier than you thought.

Try to relax and de-stress

There is definitely a connection between stress and your health, so you’re best off avoiding it whenever possible. One way that Guilfoyle does this is by using a few drops of lavender essential oils to relax.

Avoid caffeine

As tempting as it is to grab a cup of coffee before an early-morning flight, Guilfoyle advises against it. “Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they are a major cause of dehydration,” she says. “Instead, try a fruit juice to keep you hydrated during your trip.”

Eat fruits and raw vegetables

Instead of reaching for processed snack food, Guilfoyle suggests something healthier. “Water-based foods, like fruits and raw vegetables, will not only keep you hydrated and prevent puffiness, but will also give you the added boost of important antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients,” she says.

Get—or stay—in shape

This is good advice regardless of whether or not you’re getting on an airplane, but Guilfoyle says that exercising regularly can help you stay healthy when you fly. “Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is extremely important in order to help cope with the physical demands of flying and constant change in time zones,” she explains. “We regularly experience body clock changes, irregular sleeping patterns, and long haul flying which can disrupt our systems. As a result, a regular dose of good nutrition and consistent exercise helps our bodies remain at their optimum levels.”

But don’t exercise right after a flight

Though it may seem like a good idea to hit the gym as soon as you reach your destination, flight attendant Sophie Jones says that it’s actually not. “There’s no point pushing your body to work out when it hasn’t had enough rest, rehydration, and time to acclimatize itself to a new time zone,” she told British Elle.

Nap during your flight

While this isn’t always an option for flight attendants, getting in a quick nap while you’re flying can keep you energized and help you avoid jet lag. That’s why Heather Sanchez, a flight attendant for Hawaiian Airlines, told Women’s Health that she recommends creating a cat nap kit to stow in your carry-on luggage containing a neck pillow, noise-canceling headphones, and an eye mask with built-in eye cavities to block out light without smudging your mascara.


The post Flight Attendants Reveal How They Never Get Sick appeared first on Reader's Digest.

Related: Emirates' flight attendant program is so exclusive, they even have rules on what shade of lipstick can be worn

The beauty and uniform rules Emirates' flight attendants must follow
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The beauty and uniform rules Emirates' flight attendants must follow

Emirates flight attendants go through a rigorous training process that includes everything from defense training, mixology lessons and medical training. 

It's not just that the crew members have to learn how to give CPR and assist in emergency situations. They have to look the part, complete with red high heels and a particular shade of lipstick.

"We represent Arabia, and so [we] have designed our uniform and beauty standards to be a blend of modern and traditional, as well as respectful to the area where we live, with the tan color representing the desert sand and warmth of the gulf region," explained an airline representative to AOL Lifestyle.

Since 2009, the Emirates team has been wearing the same uniform of a cream skirt with red outlinings.

The Emirates uniforms were drawn up to help give the airline a more business-oriented image. The airline tested various uniforms in airports by evaluating how different travelers reacted. 

Their uniform is representative of the airline's history and base in Dubai and contributes to the airline's image. 

"Intrinsic to the Emirates look and feel is the iconic hat which incorporates an attractive white silk scarf wrapped around the red hat and curves round the wearer’s neck giving tribute to the traditions of the Middle East," explained the airline to AOL Lifestyle.

"Not only does it remind people that the global airline is based in the Middle East, but it complements the uniform. This has been integral part of the Emirates uniform worn by crew members since the launch of the airline in 1985. This is an item of uniform that will always stay with Emirates, as it is very much a part of the Emirates brand and is recognized around the globe."

Their uniforms, down to the exact color of their hair scrunchie, are outlined by the airline's rulebook.

Part of being an Emirates' flight attendant is not just behaving the part, but looking the part too. Emirates' flight attendants must dress in the airlines' uniform, consisting of a cream skirt and blouse, along with a matching jacket and scarf (to mimic the airline's base in the United Arab Emirates.

Flight attendants also must wear a red hat, too, while in the airport and boarding and deboarding the plane. 

Their uniforms were made to survive long-haul flights.

Everything down to the very material of the uniforms is to promise that the airline's representatives look presentable. The uniforms for both the male and female flight attendants are made with 4 percent Lycra to ensure no wrinkles, while maximizing comfortability and flexibility.

Uniform accessories are made from leather. 

They're even particular about their beauty standards, too. 

Applicants with visible tattoos don't meet Emirates requirements' -- and cosmetic bandages aren't allowed. Necklaces and bracelets aren't allowed to be worn, while cabin crew members can *only* wear pearls, gold, diamond or crystal studs if they choose to wear earrings.  

Even their nails must be up to Emirates standards. 

Nude, light pinks and French manicures are permitted, and certain red nail polish is allowed. The team has an "Imaging and Grooming Department" where all these rules are outlined. 

There is even a shade of lipstick called "Emirates red." 

Because Emirates is so intent on uniformity, cabin crew members are required to wear red lipstick to stay on brand. Many of these workers opt for MAC's long-lasting "Russian Red," outlined by red lipliner. Liquid eyeliner is strongly encouraged, and can be applied with black or beige eyeshadow. These requirements are learned during flight attendant training, where trainees can learn about the airline's beauty standards. 

Their hair is always up. 

For the airline workers, longer hair should be kept in a French twist or bun, secured with a red scrunchie. Men must be well-groomed. A mustache is allowed, but not a beard.


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