Passengers arriving on two American Airlines flights, one arriving from Paris and one from Munich, were screened by officials at the Philadelphia airport after having reported feeling ill.
Just a day before, an Emirates flight from arriving from Dubai was quarantined at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport after several crew members and passengers reported symptoms.
While officials are treating the situations with caution, a likely explanation is that it's the beginning of flu season.
On Wednesday, while on the tarmac at JFK, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey screened every single one of the hundreds of passengers onboard before they were allowed to disembark. Officials are now reporting it was a case of the flu. Out of “an abundance of caution,” Customs and Border Protection inspected the passengers on the American Airlines flights after several travelers reported feeling ill after arriving from the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. However, unlike the Emirates flight, neither of these planes were quarantined. The CBP instead simply examined passengers in a station “away from other passengers,” according to CNBC.
Though there’s no way of knowing just how bad the flu season will be this year, the CDC recommends anyone over the age of six months get a flu shot. Right now is the perfect time to get the shot as the CDC recommends people get a flu vaccine by the end of October.
There are also more ways to protect yourself from getting sick while traveling. For one, you can pack a few key items in your carry-on like nasal spray to keep your nose nice and moist.
“One of the things we’ve noticed, particularly on airplanes, is that as soon as your mucous membranes, particularly in your nose and your mouth, start to dry out, we lose one of the most valuable defenses for preventing respiratory viruses,” Dr. Nicholas Testa told ABC News.
You can also pack a few disinfectant wipes to clean your armrest, tray table, remote, and television screen. And finally, turn on your overhead air vent. This will keep air circulating throughout the cabin, which means germs can quickly move away from your area if your seatmate is sneezing up a storm.