In News on Saturday 24th Oct, 2015

Revealed: the most germ-ridden places on a plane (and they’re not where you expect)

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Your bags are packed, you’ve boarded the plane, chosen your in-flight meal and your well-earned holiday has finally begun! But wait. The passenger next to you is sneezing, coughing and looking worse for wear. In fact, by the time you’ve reached your destination, you’re feeling poorly too. Sound familiar?

There’s no doubt that confining hundreds of people into one cabin 9000 metres above ground will breed colds and flus. Since your fellow passengers could come from anywhere across the globe, you’re very likely to end up with germs that are as well-travelled as you. So what’s the best way to arrive at your destination feeling healthy and happy?

Start by avoiding the top germ hotspots, some of which may surprise you.

A recent study published by Medical Daily revealed that the Number 1 breeding ground for aeroplane germs is your tray table. That’s right, the very same table you eat off can have a whopping 337 CFU per square centimetre. (If you’re wondering what CFU means, it stands for colony forming unit, which is as unappealing as it sounds.)

Our recommendation is to pack an antibacterial wipe, and give your tray a once-over before starting tea.

Other hotspots for germs are less surprising, but no less horrid. The average toilet door boasts about 11 CFU/sq cm, while pressing the flush button exposes you to triple that amount.

It’s definitely a good idea to pack hand sanitiser (remember it needs to be under 100ml for security reasons), but keep it within reach even after visiting the bathroom – you’ll need it after buckling up, because the average seatbelt has about 36 CFU/sq cm.

If all this is getting you hot under the collar, you may want to adjust the air-conditioning vent. Approach it gently though, because airplane vents house around 45 CFU/sq cm. Those figures almost rival the toilet flusher!

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, remember to rehydrate, but be sure to opt for bottled water rather than drinking from a bubbler in the airport. That button alone could be home to 194 colony forming units.

So that’s wet wipes, sanitiser and bottled water – check!

Do you have other tips for healthy travel? Has a cold or flu ever ruined your holiday? We’d love to hear from you!