Scientists have made a disturbing little compilation of the dirtiest, most bacteria-covered places you touch during air travel that might make germaphobes think twice before buying a plane ticket. Public places are certainly a well of germs, ranging from bathrooms to public transportation.
So, a team of researchers have taken 26 samples of commonly touched places from five airports in the United States, and four flights from two major brands, which have remained unnamed. And it shouldn’t be a surprise that airplanes, in particular, are a cozy home for potential bacteria along with its spreading.
An average of one hundred passengers, of different ages and from various places are all cramped up in an enclosed space, circulating the same air, along with the occasional cough and sneeze. It’s the perfect dish for bacteria to spread across, though future travelers are assured that the chances are small of a short epidemic happening right there during their flight.
Travelmath.com has taken all the samples to a laboratory and examined the bacteria content on common surfaces air travelers touch while flying or while waiting for their flight in airports. The winner is the tray tables that most of us eat on, which is not in the slightest comforting.
Tray tables have a reported content of 2,155 colony-forming units (CFU) per square inch of bacteria lurking around their surface. The suggestion has been made that airport staff get so very little time between flights that they do not have enough to give each seat a proper scrubbing that could cleanse it completely.
According to researchers, it’s probably best not to touch your mouth after your hands made contact with the tray table, and should definitely not let your food make contact with the reclining surface. If all measures are taken, you should be bacteria free. At least from the trays.
The second place is far behind them, standing at 1,240 CPU/sq. inch in the form of drinking fountain buttons that an innumerable amount of people touch each day. The bacteria content thankfully gradually decreases to the third place, overhead air vents, that stand at 285 CPU/sq. inch. This may be a bit more calming, but it should be noted that they do blow air directly into your face.
The fourth place goes to lavatory flush buttons at 265 CPU/sq. inch, the fifth to seatbelt buckles at 230 CPU/sq. inch, and the sixth and final place to bathroom stall locks at 70 CPU/sq. inch.
However, researchers also made the mention that, while it’s something to bear in mind, it’s also likely harmless. Before you cancel the next flight and opt for car travel, the study has underlined that they found no traces of more dangerous bacteria, such as E.coli or other harmful agents of infections.
Then again, that just means they mentioned that kind of bacteria they didn’t find, not the kind that was there, so it’s only half an answer to an important question.