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FLYING IN FILTH: 9 airplane surfaces that harbor dangerous bacteria

Dangerous bacteria

(NaturalNews) Planning a summer getaway by plane? Be prepared, as research has shown that bacteria and microbes can thrive for days on airplanes. The small enclosed space, recycled air, the person sitting next to you with a nasty cough – a cold, flu or stomach bug never seems to be far off.

Researchers at Travel Math sent a microbiologist to swab and analyze samples from various locations in five airports and four flights. The study revealed how disgusting traveling by plane can be. They found that aircrafts and airports are teeming with bacteria.

Surprisingly, the dirtiest surface of all the locations and surfaces tested wasn't found in the bathroom, but right under our noses. The tray table or the place where we rest our food on contained the most bacteria.

Next time you board a plane, arm yourself with tips to avoid getting sick. Speaking to the New York Post, two experts reveal nine of the dirtiest places on an airplane and how to protect yourself from the bacteria lurking on these surfaces.

1. Tray table

Like mentioned earlier, the tray table is the dirtiest and most likely place to harbor pathogenic bacteria. Philip Tierno, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology and pathology at NYU School of Medicine, and author of "The Secret Life of Germs, claims that nobody is thoroughly cleaning the tray tables once the airplane drops off its passengers.

According to Dr. Neil Nandi, a gastroenterologist and assistant professor at Drexel University College of Medicine, cleaning tray tables with a hand wipe is the first thing people should do when they take their seat.

2. Touch-screens and magazines

Just as the tray tables, touch screens house a broad range of germs that easily can be tackled by sanitizing the whole screen before you start watching a movie. The New York Post also warns to stay clear from in-flight magazines as they have been sitting there and collecting germs for months.

3. Bathroom door handle

Next to the tray tables, the bathroom door is one of the filthiest places on the plane. Tierno suggests to carry a sanitizing gel with 60 percent alcohol with you and clean your hands when you return to your seat.

4. Toilet and lid

According to Nandi, some particles may be dispersed into the air when flushing. To avoid any of these particles ending up on your hands, make sure to lift the seat with a paper towel or toilet paper.

5. Soap dispenser and water faucet

Faucets and soap dispensers are two other germ collecting hotspots, as they are the first thing you'll touch after doing your business. Again using sanitizing gel after leaving the bathroom is the best way to make sure your hands are germ-free.

6. Paper towel dispenser

While airplane toilets may be cleaner than tray tables because they are cleaned regularly during the flight, most surfaces still contain a good number of sick-making bacteria. When reaching for a paper towel, make sure only to touch the towel itself and avoid surrounding areas.

7. Overhead air vent

As reported by Nandi, people are constantly adjusting the air vents, making it yet another place where bacteria can thrive. To avoid a steady stream of bacteria blowing into your face, use a tissue to wipe it clean before you adjust the airflow.

8. Headrest

The headrest may house lice or germs coughed up by previous users. Tierno advises people to bring their own pillow or create a protective barrier with a sweater or towel.

9. Sneezing passengers

Sick people seated right behind or next to you can also spread germs. If they are constantly sneezing or coughing, it may be worth asking for a seat change.

Sources for this article include:

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