OK, you are packed, ready to go and have everything you need to have a worry-free trip.

Please leave early enough to get to the airport and go through all the security and stuff.

If you have planned in advance, you can get your seat assignment when you purchase your ticket.

If being in a certain part of the plane is important, i.e. close to the restrooms, choose a seat that meets your needs.

You can also print out your boarding pass, from any computer, within 24 hours of your flight.

Let’s talk a little about the airport and aircraft.

If you will need a wheelchair to get to the gate, try to schedule it in advance.

Many airports have shuttles what will pick you up when you get through security and take you there.

Most airlines have an early boarding policy for those individuals who need a little more time to get to their seat.

If you haven’t arranged for it in advance, ask the agent at the gate if you can use that service.

As far as the aircraft itself is concerned, please remember there are a lot of people in close quarters.

What with the very low humidity, with perhaps air being recirculated during the flight and the “germs” some of the passengers may have, you might be at risk for catching something.

By the same token, if you have some contagious disease, you may be the person giving it to others.

There are a few things you can do to help prevent catching or giving something.

Drink plenty of water throughout the flight.

Small sips are better than a large amount all at once.

It will help keep your nasal passages hydrated and will allow them to do their job of filtering out bacteria.

Keep your hands clean, especially before you eat.

It may be difficult to get to the lavatory during flights, what with all the things going on in the aisle, but you can use disposable hand wipes or liquid disinfectant, which you can easily carry in your pocket or purse (make sure it is in a container less than 3 ounces).

Try not to rub your face and, of course, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

If you want to take it to the extreme, you could wear a disposable face mask, like the kind I wore for more than 40 years in the operating room.

But, it is not the most comfortable device to wear for long periods of time.

People will definitely look at you funny and may think you have some communicable disease and shun you.

On the other hand, if you want to be shunned, and left alone so you can sleep or do some work, you can wear the mask all the time.

Next week, we’ll talk about jet lag.

Dr. Michael M. Warren is Ashbel Smith professor of surgery at University of Texas Medical Branch Division of Urology. Write him at michael.warren@galvnews.com.

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