sneezing woman sick blowing nose with white background

When you're on an airplane, the sound of someone coughing or sneezing can be a bit scary — how long until you end up sick, too? According to a USA Today article, your chances of avoiding germs may depend on where the sick people are sitting.

A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the 11 people seated nearest those with a respiratory virus have a more than 80 percent chance of catching it themselves. That includes people within two seats to either side in the row and those in front and behind.

Beyond that, the risk for infections drops below three percent.

Risks for in-flight infections come from sneezes. Charles Gerba, the University of Arizona microbiologist known as "Dr. Germ," said to watch out for the lavatory and the tray in front of you.

And the danger is not just In the restroom, touching that doorknob can be a risk.

An earlier USA Today report outlined the five germiest parts of air travel and not surprisingly, the lavatory topped the list. The other four were:

• The floor at security checkpoints
• The airport drinking fountains
• Airline magazines and catalogs
• Airline pillows and blankets

In fact, roughly five percent of customers on a flight will have a cold or flu, according to the article, and many try sleeping it off while in the air. Pillows and blankets are not cleaned between flights, creating potential risk for those boarding the plane.