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Airplane trays, seats and blankets are covered in fecal matter and bacteria, research shows


Travel

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(NaturalNews) Many people are hesitant to fly for any number of reasons. Perhaps they develop excruciating ear pain during flights or they can't stand the thought of sitting so close to a stranger for hours at a time. Maybe it's the bad rap airplane food gets, terrorism fears, or thoughts of possible mechanical problems keeping them on the ground. For some people, it could be all of the above.

For those who are already leery about taking to the skies, there is yet another reason flying might give you pause: chances are that you've covered yourself in fecal matter and bacteria on every flight you've been on, and this has little to do with trips to the bathroom.

Research conducted by experts commissioned by a sanitizer company discovered some unsettling information, including the fact that your own luggage likely gets covered with 80 million bacteria before it even reaches a hotel room. This finding makes sense when you consider all that is involved in getting your luggage from one place to another.

On average, four baggage handlers, two taxi drivers, a hotel porter and one airline staff member typically handle one piece of luggage. Consider that the average person has more than 10 million bacteria on their hands, which is even more than the mere 33,000 found on public surfaces. This equates to millions upon millions of bacteria on your luggage; this is something to consider when you touch the handle and plop it on a hotel bed to unpack clothes.

Unfortunately, that's just the beginning.

Beyond luggage, bacteria and fecal matter exist on airline table trays, arm rests, carpets and more

Experts also uncovered additional disturbing information when talking with airline employees, who wished to remain anonymous. One crew member admitted to seeing baby's diapers being changed on the tray where people eat their food, passengers cutting their fingernails on board and people urinating in the seats.

This crew member encourages passengers to stay healthy by cleaning the areas around them beforehand, noting, "Cleaners don't have time to thoroughly clean planes between journeys, as they are under pressure constantly to provide a quick turn-around." This also pertains to airline seat belts, which are touched by thousands of passengers yet rarely cleaned between flights. Therefore, cleaning tray tables and other surfaces before takeoff is highly recommended, as is avoiding walking barefoot around the plane.

In fact, planes and airports are popular places where the bacteria causing cold viruses, influenza, MRSA, E. coli and listeria exist and thrive. Fecal matter, for example, often gets carried around these areas as it attaches to the sole of a shoe. Multiply that possibility by the multitudes of people who take flights every day, and you can understand the concern.

All of this means much more than crinkling up noses in disgust; serious health problem can arise from all of these bacteroides, health-damaging germs that wreak havoc on our body. According to Dr. Robert Glatter of New York's Lenox Hill Hospital, "These are bacteria that live in our gut and our intestines. These are dangerous bacteria that cause serious infections."

Post-doctoral fellow in materials science, Kiril Vaglenov, explains that in the right situation, contact with E. coli gut bugs could result in kidney failure. "Many travelers are concerned about the risks of catching a disease from other passengers when they spend long hours in crowded air cabins," says Vaglenov, who found that the MRSA bug, for example, lingered for one full week on an airplane's cloth seatback pocket. "I wouldn't touch that pocket," Vaglenov says. "I think that it should be replaced with something less porous." As for an airplane's arm rest, Vaglenov discovered that E. coli lasted about four days there.

How to stay healthy during flights

In addition to washing your hands and sanitizing your tray and seat belt, consider bringing your own blanket if you think you'll want to rest during your flight. Often, the only time freshly cleaned blankets make their way to the plane is during the first flight of the day. Otherwise, in the interest of time, that blanket you use might have been used several times before by people who had a cold or bad overall hygiene habits.

It is also a good idea to stay hydrated to keep any infections or colds at bay; drinking up to two glasses of water per hour can help your system stay on track.

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://www.nbcnews.com

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