TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - You prepare when you travel -- pack your bags, get your tickets -- but you also have to be aware of something else that could be on your flight. Germs and viruses maybe boarding with you.
"When I go to take a little nap and lay my back or go to the side, I'm always wondering, who was the person there before me and was it cleaned?" said passenger Kimberly Hand.
Dr. Seetha Lakshmi of Tampa General Hospital and USF Health said your likelihood of catching something could depend on a few different factors.
"The time of the season, when you're traveling, the exposures you've had and how your immune system is reacting," said Dr. Lakshmi.
One thing you can do to protect yourself is to sanitize.
"Sanitize your hands, use a sanitizer to wipe your trays, your armrest, make sure you sanitize the surrounding area," explained Dr. Lakshmi. "Also prevent touching your nose or mouth because that's how the germs can infect you."
You should also keep water handy.
"Definitely do everything you can to stay hydrated. Avoid alcohol and caffeine because we know that dehydrates you," Dr. Lakshmi stressed.
Watch out for signs of illness in others. An infected flight attendant could do more harm than an infected passenger.
"A passenger probably moves around much less than a flight attendant who's doing their job and trying to get things done," said Dr. Lakshimi.
Snagging a window seat could also be helpful.
"I do think it does decrease exposure based on traffic," said Dr. Lakshimi.
You may want to consider a facemask.
"If you have a problem with your immune system, we definitely recommend that you wear a mask when you're going to high exposure areas," Dr. Lakshmi added.