Airport security is there to protect you, but it can also cause colds, or worse.
All the places and surfaces that have warned us are full of germs or bacteria, their pets, the train seat, the cabins of the airplanes, the ATM, add the safety tray of the airport.
It has been discovered that plastic trays, used at airport checkpoints around the world and touched by millions of passengers when they drop shoes, laptops, luggage and other items to clean X-ray scanners, contain a variety of germs, including those responsible for the common cold, according to researchers in Europe.
Scientists from the University of Nottingham in England and the National Institute of Health and Welfare in Finland cleaned frequently touched surfaces at the Helsinki airport in Finland during and after peak hours in the winter of 2016 and collected traces of rhinovirus, the source of the common cold, and the influenza A virus.
They found traces in the middle of the luggage trays, more than in any of the other surfaces they tried. None of these viruses were found on the surfaces of the toilets at the airport, they said.
The findings, published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases, could help improve public health strategies in the fight against the spread of infectious diseases throughout the world.
The study could also help educate people about how the infections we try to avoid are spread every winter, said Jonathan Van-Tam, professor of health protection at the University of Nottingham, in a statement sent by email on Wednesday. .
Many of the surfaces that we touch daily harbor and can spread germs. These include cell phones, kitchen sponges and even cute bathtub rubber ducks. But it is known that air travel accelerates the global spread of diseases such as influenza, which is released naturally and potentially others released intentionally.
The European Union has funded a research project, called Pandhub, to prevent the spread of "high threat" pathogens through public transport, and the study of the University of Nottingham and the Finnish institute is part of that project.
"The presence of microbes in the vicinity of an airport has not been previously investigated," said Niina Ikonen, an expert in virology at the Finnish institute, who participated in the study.
He added that the results provided new ideas for technical improvements in the design and renovation of the airport.
Finavia, the company that operates the Helsinki airport, said in an email: "At Finavia airports, hygiene protocols are carried out in accordance with the requirements of health officials: all surfaces are cleaned daily and all the trays of security control points, etc. "
The results of the study did not prove that the viruses found could cause disease, the researchers' statement said. But previous research had shown that microbes can survive on various surfaces for several days.
Washing your hands properly and coughing in a tissue, handkerchief or cuff, especially in public places, can help minimize the risk of infection, said Professor Van-Tam.
"These simple precautions can help prevent pandemics and are more important in crowded areas such as airports that have a large volume of people traveling to and from many different parts of the world," he added.