Last week I announced our new feature: Pink’s Travel Tips. Today, I roll out Tip #1 — one of my very favorites, the killer app for staying healthy on airplanes.

(Warning: This video might gross out some of you. Viewer discretion is advised.)

42 Responses to “Pink’s Travel Tip #1: Never get sick again”

  1. A says:

    Smart tip!

    • Jef says:

      YEs, very smart.
      Consider – colds and sinus infections are caused by viruses, not bacteria. Antibiotics only kill bacteria. If doing this is keeping him healthier, its because the cream/gel (usually some form of petroleum jelly) is keeping the inside of his nose from drying out and that prevents some of the bacteria from entering his system. A moist nose is a healthy nose! (just ask your dog! 🙂 )

      Also staying hydrated helps.

  2. anders says:

    Hey Dan,

    I know I invited you to lunch last time you were in Australia, but now I am having second thoughts.

    Very funny travel tip.

    Anders of Thinque

  3. Darryl says:

    fantastic video, and a good tip… got the link from twitter… keep them coming.

  4. nicmcc says:

    Hey, whatever works! I’ll have to try this on my next trip.

  5. Shelley says:

    The “I’m protected” tagline is much more questionable than “I’m flying” but I’m definitely enjoying the new feature.

  6. Bryan Eye says:

    Great video. Thanks for sharing the health tip, Dan! =)

  7. I learned this tip from a book by the Barefoot Doctor, Urban Warriors Survival Guide. Instead of nasty antibiotics, just use Tea Trea oil, if you can stand the smell. It is a very effective, natural desinfectant and as an added benefit it keeps other travellers at a distane… Seriously, works great since it also purifies the air.

  8. madeira says:

    now that’s taking hygiene to the next level!

  9. I love this idea – I’ll probably do it. Just one worry: isn’t increasing use of antibiotics on every occasion and surface what’s leading to the rising risk of more resistant ummm… biotics (microbes)? It’s all well and good to avoid the next worldwide pandemic, but ironic that by doing so, we may be contributing to its cause!

  10. Clint says:

    Nice one. Can’t wait to see what kind of other tips you’ve got coming. If there anything like this one, I’ll have some good tips to use on my upcoming trips.

  11. JOhn says:

    Nice tip. I usually just wear a mask when I fly. But I might try the antibacterial cream, depending its smell.

  12. Bryan says:

    The problem is the airborne crap in airplanes is predominantly viruses. Your bacitracin won’t do a thing … except make you feel like you’re doing something.

  13. Helen says:


    I’d love to hear about where your Travel Tips fit in around the AWNM concepts. Are you testing this as a tool? I’m in discussions at work around how we do patient health education – classes, webinars, handouts. I know that I rely on videos like you posted here, that Garr Reynolds uses, that TED posts for information that often changes my behavior. However, when I try to articulate the concepts I realize that I come up short in a supposed evidence-based environment with people who may use the internet in different ways than I do. I don’t have TV access so I have to be proactive in the way I get information. Do you have any thoughts about this?

    BTW – you could use a q-tip to put bacitracin in your nostril.


  14. Stephen Moegling says:

    Dan, just used your travel trip this week. Two days after flying with a bunch of sneezers and nose-wipers, I’m happy to report not even the hint of a cold or sinus infection. Thanks!

  15. I use a saline spray to wash my sinuses before and after, really the whole time I’m traveling. Same results – two years no sinus infections!. However I like your idea and it was fun seeing you stick your finger up your nose!

  16. john says:

    how do you spell the triple antibiotic ointment your talking about here?

  17. Avatar photo Dan Pink says:

    @ john — It’s bacitracin. More info here:

  18. Alex Sirota says:


    Great tip — I wonder if this would work equally well on subway systems since many people in metro areas have to take them at least 10 times per week? I’ve been sick on and off for the month of December and I am seriously considering this option.

    I have a friend who got sick just being in her condo for a few days — had to be the poor ventilation system spreading germs from condo to condo.

    Let me give this a try…


  19. Ian Hopper says:

    I share Marti Barletta’s concerns: the widespread use of antibiotics has created supergerms, including staph that is almost impossible to kill. Washing your hands is an excellent thing to do (just don’t use antibacterial soap). Another option would be to use just some petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) which will help increase the natural “trapping” ability of the hairs and cilia in the nostril.

  20. Skip Stein says:

    Hi Dan,

    Cool tips. Just did the first one. Another tool I use is a personal air purifier; does allergy and virus too.

    Wein Air Supply Mini-Mate Personal Air Purifier AS 150MM

    Been using it for YEARS in airplanes and crowds; especially during flue season!



  21. Veronica says:

    I’ve done this before and I swear that it works. I had to take my Mom to the hospital and visit her in the hospital when she had swine-flu and I swear that’s what prevented my from getting it. I was all over her house, in the car with her while she was coughing, she was leaning on me while we were in the ER. I never got sick not one symptom. I was told this by another doctor and I swear by it now.

  22. Margaret Graham says:

    Wow! You really pulled that off. You can do anything now.

  23. Jeff says:

    I have to agree with Bryan. This may help with bacteria-born diseases but it won’t do a thing with viruses. So what anti-viral stuff do you stick in your nose?

    Okay, just kidding. More seriously, I wonder how strong the placebo effect is here.

    Now, just to give you context to my comment, I hate getting sick and have proselytized to my family and whomever will listen that it’s less likely you’ll get sick if you never ever touch your hands to your face. Not fail safe mind you. Just common sense.

  24. king of spain says:

    i think this is called a placebo

  25. You are crazy man!
    Why don’t you try some exercises and healthy food?

  26. John Tangney says:

    This is misguided advice. It’s a bad idea.

    Overuse of antibiotics is a serious problem. We are currently facing an explosion of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

    Prophylactic antibiotics are seldom indicated, and as Jeff and Bryan pointed out, completely ineffective against viruses, except perhaps as a placebo.

    Use the “hand sanitizer” (really just alcohol in a gel) and you’ll be fine. And as Jeff said, keep your hands away from your face.

  27. I think telling people to keep their hands away from their face is like telling them not to inhale air. Good advice but not practical.

  28. For those who want to try a method without ‘drugs,’ I would advise searching for “The Cortices Technique” by Dr. John Veltheim. I don’t want to go into too much detail on Dan’s blog post here, but suffice to say — it’ll help.

    With Love and Gratitude,


  29. Susan R. says:

    You are too funny! I think you way overbilled the grossness, which I suppose is good since I was mentally cringing regarding what might be coming next. Sounds like a good tip. I see you posted it a while ago, although I just saw it when following your link on “The Hidden Benefits of Mickey D’s”. I’m looking forward to reading the others.

  30. Heather says:

    Just writing to let you know I followed this tip to a T on my trip to China. Didn’t get sick till I traveled *within* China and failed to apply your strategies.

    My husband cringed as I stuck bacitracin up my nose… but felt better when I wiped down his tray table and he could tell just how dirty it was!

    Love your tips!

  31. Richard says:

    Great video(s) Dan. Very useful tips.

    I used to travel as much as Dan. Planes at least once a week, many overseas.

    I too suffered from lots of sinus infections and colds but I’m quite sure it wasn’t just from germs on planes, it was also from dry, recirculated air, both on the planes and in hotels.

    As recommended above, I started using saline nose spray (water and salt) and it solved the problem. It not only keeps your sinuses wet so they more easily reject airborne germs, but it also keeps you from drying out on long, over the ocean flights. You can buy Ocean brand or Rite Aid or CVS generic, it’s all the same.

    I use it at home too; we heat with a woodstove and our house is dry in the winter, it’s worked wonders for me.

    I haven’t had a cold or a sinus infection in 9 years. NINE years.

    Oh, and on a different note, I also get an annual flu shot and haven’t had the flu in 10 years.

  32. danny g says:

    I’ve always been looking for a legit reason to pick my nose in public!!! Great tip – thanks for this!

  33. Mark in CA says:

    It’s not the antibacterial effect that is keeping you well. It’s the moisturizing effect. The extremely dry air in the cabin causes the sinus passages to become dry and ineffective in their natural act of trapping bacteria and viruses. Putting something like that in your nose — it could just as easily be Vaseline — helps keep the membranes moist and effective. Also, the newer planes have better cabin air systems.

  34. Ess says:

    Thank you! I travel to Texas about 5xs a year and I ALWAYS get sick but not this time. Great tip, worked perfectly. Thanks.

  35. Mike says:

    I suffered from SEVERE sinus infections for years. I was taking every kind of decongestant you can buy. Nothing worked. I was on the verge of considering surgery. I paid enormous sums to allergists and general doctors. Then one day it occurred to me that sinus “infections” should be treated topically. Just like a cut on your arm. You don’t take pill when you have a scrape. So…I stuck some of this super inexpensive stuff (like ~$1 a few years ago) up my nose 2x per day. Three days later, no more sinus infection.