With that nasty flu going around the country, I’ve noticed a lot more concern about flying on planes these days – even heard of someone seeing a potential seatmate sneezing, asked if she was sick, and then changed seats. Also – a family friend was unable to take a flight with their sick child – Southwest made them reschedule!
So – how can we all stay healthy? And are we really more susceptible to illness when flying?
Get this: According to the New York Times, a few years ago a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona swabbed airplane bathrooms and tray tables on eight flights to see what germs may be waiting for you on your flight.
Four out of six tray tables tested positive for the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), …..and norovirus, the highly contagious viruses that can cause vomiting, diarrhea and cramping, was found on one tray. Most of the bathrooms he swabbed had E. coli bacteria. Thirty percent of sinks, flush handles and faucet handles had E. coli, as did 20 percent of toilet seats.
Yuck! This confirms what we all believe: There are germs on planes. The CDC says on its website that the close quarters of flying may facilitate the transmission of influenza.
SO what are we to do? There are a number of new products just preying on our fears, and making money to boot.
Magellans has a whole section on its website devoted to health and hygiene….http://www.magellans.com/health-and-hygiene/health-and-hygiene-air-purifiers-and-breathing-masks. Lots of breathing masks we remember from the SARS days, as well as an air purifier.
There are also mini-fresh air supply devices to wear around your neck. www.weinproducts.com/minimate.htm
I also wrote about a tray table cover in another post. http://www.tracygallagher.com/2012/09/germ-phobes-traveling-just-got-more-sanitary/
Since germs reportedly can survive up to 72 hours on plastic surfaces, it seems disinfecting your arm chairs, seats, tray tables is not a bad idea. Doctors say the best prevention is to diligently wash your hands, making sure they are clean before you touch your face or nose, and before you eat. If someone is sick next to you and sneezes, well, there’s not much protection for that, but a mask can help.
Packing list: Hand sanitizer? CHECK!
Wishing you healthy travels. Another 8 weeks of flu season to go.