Myth: Recirculated cabin air on planes will make you sick
If you’re worried about getting sick from breathing recirculated air on planes, you’re not alone. However, studies have shown it’s not a reasonable concern. While people who travel on planes may be more likely to get sick than non-travellers, this is likely due to dry air and a proliferation of germs in a small space (such as being coughed on by the person next to you or touching things sick people have touched), rather than germs being spread through the air supply. Jet lag, stress, poor diet while travelling and fatigue can also affect health. The low humidity can lead to a dry throat and cough, making people think they’ve picked up a bug when they haven’t. Using a hand sanitiser and drinking plenty of fluids while onboard is a good idea.
Verdict Recirculated cabin air alone doesn’t make passengers sick.
Myth: Bottled water is a safe alternative to tap water when you’re travelling
In some countries, especially developing countries, travellers are advised not to drink tap water and stick to bottled water instead. However, in some cases bottled water may simply be untreated tap water. Even “filtered” water may not have had all the baddies removed. Buying a well-known brand of imported water is the best bet, but check the seal carefully for tampering – sometimes empty bottles are refilled with tap water and sold to unwitting tourists. You might also consider carrying disinfection tablets and a couple of bottles if you’re venturing off the beaten track – ask for advice at a hiking and camping store.
Verdict Not all bottled drinking water is safe.