Flying Usually Means the Family Gets Sick

For nearly three weeks, at least one person in the house was sick . . . all because of a trip we took to Cincinnati for Memorial Day weekend!  Overall it was a good weekend getaway, and it was for a family wedding, so we *had* to do it, but I am getting to the point that I dread all of us getting on an airplane.  An individual might catch a bug on a trip (all that recycled air means we share germs with everyone on the plane), but put six people on an airplane and your chances of bringing a virus or other bug home is multiplied . . . by six!

Of course, we weren’t able to get a direct flight (there are few of those between San Francisco and Cincinnati), so we had to stop in Chicago and change planes.  On the second flight there was an 18-month-old in front of us who coughed over us the entire time.  I remember thinking “I hope no one gets that!” during the flight.  Sure enough, Sunday morning (the day of the wedding, of course), one of the twins woke up with a fever of 102 degrees.  I ran out to the drug store and bought some kids’ Tylenol, had her sleep until we had to leave for the wedding, and hoped for the best.  What else can you do?  We can’t leave her at the hotel.  And we flew quite a distance to be there.  We kept her quiet and away from others as much as we could and left a little early.

The day after we returned to California the other twin came down with it.  Manly Guy caught the bug a couple of days after that, and he was sick for a solid week, followed by a week of diminished productivity and no working out (which makes him pretty grumpy).  Then I got the bug, which turned into bronchitis, making me miss the girls’ annual ballet shows.  As I recovered, our littlest caught it and was sick most of last week.  The only family member who didn’t get sick was our son.

I’m sure that there is *something* that the airlines can do to make it less likely that you will get sick after flying.  I’d be happy to don a medical mask if everyone else did it, and I bet that they could filter the air to reduce the germ circulation.    Obviously they wouldn’t be able to make guarantees, but if an airline could demonstrate that they had improved air quality significantly, I’d be willing to spend a little more for each ticket.  The lost productivity of the last three weeks is worth a lot!

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