Fly Healthy: The Germiest Areas on an Airplane
August is often the busiest summer month for travel as families across North America try to take advantage of the last moments of summer before school starts. But, the added air traffic means that airplanes are more crowded than usual, which can also make them "germier" than usual.
For this reason, Enviro-Solutions, a manufacturer of green cleaning chemicals, lists four of the germiest areas on airplanes as well as environmentally friendly ways travelers can make them cleaner and healthier:
Tray tables: People eat off the trays and place food, books, laptops, magazines, etc. - all of which can be germ carriers-on these surfaces.
Bin latches: In some studies, influenza viruses, even MRSA, have been found on these latches.
Lavatory door handles: Door handles, as well as the handles on the lavatory sink and toilet, can become germ-ridden during the course of the flight. In one study, E. coli was found on over 30 percent of the sink handles tested.
Seat pocket: It's not uncommon to find used tissues, stale food, and in one reported case, toenails in there.
According to Jennifer Meek, marketing director for Charlotte Products/Enviro-Solutions, a simple, yet effective, way to clean tray tables is to use an environmentally preferable hand sanitizer before and after touching trays and other surfaces, especially before eating.
Meek also suggests washing hands as thoroughly as possible, drying them with a paper towel, using another paper towel to open the lavatory door, and a hand sanitizer for extra measure.
"A problem with airplane lavatory sinks is that the water automatically shuts off very quickly. Keep pressing the handle for more water until you have washed your hands for at least 20 seconds," she explains.
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