Getting Sick


Well-Known Member
As I sit here trying to shake my cold... Got me wondering if pilots ever have a period of time when they get sick because their body isn't used to so much flying, time zone changes, constant weather change, customer contact, altered sleep schedules, etc..

I'm still working on my ratings but figured say, a pilots first regional gig, might be a shock to the body. If so, are there any common practices to help adjust?


That's just, like, your opinion, man
It happens. My first year flying professionally, I was sick 3-4 times. Now, I've had one cold in the last 3 years. Just takes time for your body to adjust.


All the responsibility none of the authority
I spent 2 days in bed in a far off land because some jackwagon who should have called in didn't. He didn't start hacking until we were underway.

You get sick on the road, it happens. But if you do, call off


Unapologetically American
I have a feeling that a healthy seasoned pilot has a very strong immune system. But there is a price to pay to get that way! Once you start to carry pax and/or go to far away places your body will be exposed to many many germs its just not used to. I would expect to be sick more than usual if its your first year of regional flying. One thing you can do though is eat well and exercise to make sure your immune system is running at full steam! Also go to CVS or Walgreens and find out what vaccines you may need a booster on.


Well-Known Member
Getting proper rest is important for me. I take "Airborne" if I feel like I'm unrested or my immune system is vulnerable. And Zicam if I start to get sick.


Old School
One thing to remember. These airplanes are disgusting, germ filled, petri dishes. The flight deck is rarely disinfected (except by a few whackjobs who carry around little bottles of rubbing alcohol and wipe down every surface each time they fly) so I would expect the yoke and commonly used controls to have more than the average amount of fecal matter, bacteria, and other things that fester and ooze.

When I was younger I carried around wet-wipes and cleansed the cockpit (yep, I was one of the whackjobs). Now the only thing I clean is the oxygen mask. Just wash your hands a lot and avoid touching your face. If you are sick, call in sick. Don't share it with every person you come in contact with. Nobody wants to sit six inches from a guy who is sniffing, sneezing, and coughing all day.


Staff member
-Wash your hands. Often. (Especially before eating.)
-Try very hard not to touch your face, especially near your eyes.

Those two things alone will greatly diminish the amount of germs that get in your system. You can't control the air you breathe, of course, but you can keep your hands & face clean.

People get sick, it happens. Yes, you'll build up a tolerance to lots of nasty germies, but being human you WILL get sick every now and then.

I don't get sick much, but I had the worst head cold I think I've ever had for 2 weeks. Finally got over it... was feeling great for 3-4 days then BAM, yesterday was hit with a sinus infection that I could literally feel coming on. Nas-tee. Went to doc this morning, she pulled up my chart and noticed I hadn't been to see her in 3 years! I must be doing something right.. but yes, everyone gets sick sometimes.


Absentee Dad of the OOTSK, Runner, Cat Frustrator
What the peeps above said, emphasis on awareness of where your fingers go (Mom was right), self cleanliness, proper nutrition and rest, which happen to be some things we are mostly really BAD at. Those are the things you need to do well to stay healthy and get better quick during a weak week.


Spanish Proficient
I've gotten sick and tired of my schedule many times throughout my aviation career. I get sick very seldom though. Maybe my mom let me eat things off the ground when I was a kid and I have a good immune system, able withstand attack from the petri dish/airplane.


Well-Known Member
I take airborne at the first sign of getting a cold and I always use a little bottle of hand sanitizer before I eat after touching the controls. Ive been sick a couple times but always on my days off so I haven't called in yet.