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The Filthiest Part Of Traveling Happens Before You Step On The Plane

By Stephanie Ogbogu

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If you’re like Naomi Campbell, who wipes down the airplane and seat trays with sanitizing wipes when she boards a flight, you may want to consider your cleansing ritual prior to stepping foot on the plane. It turns out that the airport itself is full of germs and the filthiest part can be found right in the TSA line.

A study carried out by the University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare revealed that the plastic trays at security checkpoints are the germiest things at the airport, carrying the highest count of bacteria.

The study was done at Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Finland during the winter of 2016. Researchers tested frequently touched surfaces to determine what caused respiratory viruses. It turns out, about 10% of what you touch at the airport is carrying a virus. The most common virus found was rhinovirus, which causes the common cold. Influenza A virus was also picked up by swabs.

Besides the plastic trays at the security checkpoints, other germy areas include cash registers at shops, rails at staircases and escalators, passport checking counters, children’s play areas, and in the air. Interestingly enough, no respiratory viruses were found on toilet surfaces.  

Want to stay healthy and avoid getting others sick? Carry hand sanitizer, wash your hands, and cough/sneeze into handkerchiefs, tissues or your sleeve at all times, especially in public places.

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Stephanie Ogbogu

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