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Jill Stone

Your Meeting Matchmaker Fairy Godmother

Snakes on a Plane

in: Meeting Planning Experience Travel and Hospitality

You have to love over-the-top Hollywood blockbusters! Flying at 30,000 feet in the air is truly not an ideal time to be faced with a load of poisonous snakes. Of course, I really cannot think of any scenario where poisonous snakes would be welcome in my world. The zoo, maybe. Behind very strong glass, definitely.

Sometimes, however, it is the “snakes” we cannot see that do us harm. By this I mean – Germs!

Similar to the news reports about cruise ship passengers, I recently learned of a conference where half of the attendees had the norovirus. An outbreak of norovirus also affected the annual Archipelago Journalism Conference in Victoria, British Columbia this past January. Interestingly, attendees used Twitter to help to combat the virus, check out this recent posting from Wired.

According to the CDC, “Norovirus infection causes acute gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines); the most common symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.” It is highly contagious and spreads rapidly. Though hand sanitizer does nothing to help combat the virus, frequent hand washing is the best defense against contracting the norovirus – as well as many other “snakes.”

How did all this happen? Thought it’s hard to pinpoint the actual “carrier,” I would like to point to one of my previous blogs where I asked, “Are Airplanes Flying Germ Factories?” In it I shared some rather interesting information; it may be well worth another read of that blog. For example, it is a bit disconcerting to learn just how little cleaning is done on airplanes in between flights. Busy flight attendants and tight schedules make it difficult for a complete wipe down. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to take a few precautions for yourself and loved ones.

Some recommendations:

  • Drink only bottled water when you travel. If you are unsure as to the availability, consider bringing along a SteriPEN, which “harnesses the brilliant power of ultraviolet light to make water safe to drink.”
  • Always keep some travel wipes handy and use them on the plane’s tray tables, bathroom door handles, etc.
  • Keep your hands out of the airplane seat pockets (just think of used tissues and other unsavory trash items) and store any items you may need during the flight in your carry-on bag or purse.
  • Bring along and use your own hand sanitizer, I recommend one that uses essential oils like Thieves.  Again, it may not work on the norovirus, it  will help to prevent other illnesses.
  • If you will need a pillow in flight, bring your own. Blankets are usually changed in between flights, but not pillows.

Be safe, be germ-free and watch out for those “snakes” on your plane!

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