With the enclosed space of an airplane, recycled air and sputtering passengers, many people complain that after a flight they feel under the weather.
Aircraft may not be as full of bacteria and viruses as people think, with air filters many pathogens are kept out.
However, due to the pressure of transporting thousands of passengers a day, cabin crew may not be able to clean, resulting in tray tables that have & # 39; more germs than toilets & # 39 ;.
While supermodel Naomi Campbell may rely on masks, wipes and seat covers to keep her fights fit during the flight, doctors are contradictory about whether such extreme measures are excessive or just common sense.
Passengers use tray tables for everything from eating and reading to even resting their heads while trying to keep an eye on things.
This makes these collapsible plastic trays one of the most germ-rich places in an airplane, Dr. Dr. Abinash Virk, expert in infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic. Frommer & # 39; s.
And Katherine Harmon, director of health intelligence at the risk management company iJet, told Yahoo busy cabin crew can simply collect waste without disinfecting surfaces.
Dr. Nicholas Testa, chief physician of the southwest department of CommonSpirit Health, agreed.
He told ABC news: & # 39; The flu virus lives on a hard surface for about 24 hours.
& # 39; (Cabin crew) have no time to wipe every tray station.
& # 39; The bathroom is intrinsically cleaner & # 39 ;.
Dr. Virk recommends that passengers run an alcohol-based cloth over the trays to kill any persistent germs.
Pharmacist Shamir Patel from Chemist-4-u.com told MailOnline: & # 39; I would advise passengers to bring their own disinfectant wipes – as Naomi Campbell revealed she does. & # 39;
Dr. Frank Contacessa, an internist at Westchester Health, New York, however, urges us to go one step further and not use tables at all.
He told The Points Guy: & # 39; Do not use the tray table and if it is necessary, make sure you have the sanitary napkin with you and clean it before you use it. & # 39;
Dr. Tina Joshi, lecturer in molecular microbiology at the University of Plymouth, however, did not agree.
She told MailOnline: & # 39; This is a matter of personal preference, but I don't believe this is absolutely necessary.
& # 39; A daily public environment (buses and trains, door handles, money, etc.) is likely to accommodate many microorganisms and these do not necessarily have to be contagious to a person – unless the person is severely affected. & # 39 ;
Germaphobes can wipe any surface or even wear disposable gloves à la Naomi.
Dr. Virk insists, however, that washing your hands with soap and water, or with a disinfectant, will be enough to keep you germ-free during the flight.
Dr. Testa agreed and said: & # 39; Keep your hands clean.
& # 39; This means a combination of good hand hygiene with soap or water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. & # 39;
Dr. Brendan Wren, professor of microbial pathogenesis at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, agreed.
He told MailOnline: & # 39; This is not necessary, just wash your hands with soap and water before you leave. Aircraft toilets no different than public toilets.
& # 39; Interesting to know that Naomi has an extra job as a toilet cleaner !! & # 39;
Naomi's mask may seem like an exaggeration, but one medic called it a & # 39; good idea & # 39 ;.
Dr. Nathan Favini, medical leader at Forward health care start-up, said: “Breathing viruses are the most common cause of illness while traveling and are transmitted by air.
& # 39; It is a good idea to wear a mask to protect yourself when you are close to someone who has symptoms of a respiratory tract infection. & # 39;
However, some studies suggest that masks are only effective if they are worn by an infected person, rather than as a preventative measure by healthy passengers.
Dr. Aaron Smith, a transitional drug living in UCLA Harbor, told Clinical correlations: & # 39; A typical commercial aircraft circulates 50 percent of the air delivered to passengers.
& # 39; And this air passes through a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA) before re-entering the cabin.
& # 39; These filters effectively remove dust, fumes, bacteria, fungi and the droplets that spread most viruses. & # 39;
Dr. Smith argued that the air in an aircraft is filtered more than in other confined spaces, such as an office.
He added that fear of flying in general can cause people to panic about airborne infections.
Although countless infected passengers may have sat in your seat before, Dr. Virk emphasizes that the risk of getting something from your seat is low.
This is because your clothing acts as a barrier between you and the pillow.
And don't worry about the armrests.
& # 39; Unless you have a skin break, you are not going to get anything here & # 39 ;, said Dr. Virk.
However, the doctor admits that he does not put his hand completely in the back pocket in front of him.
& # 39; This is not based on a study, but I don't know what's down there & # 39 ;, he said.
Patel warned, however, that passengers could remove lice from the headrest.
"Headrest covers are regularly checked for" cleanliness, "but they are rarely changed after each flight over short distances," he told MailOnline.
& # 39; And there can be four or five flights each day.
& # 39; If the seat comes into contact with a passenger with head lice, it is very likely that some of the critters may linger in the headrest. & # 39;
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