Be warned: Germs on nearly every surface on airplanes

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - 11:11am

Have you ever felt like you got sick from something you picked up on a plane? Well this new study confirms those suspicions and our worst fears, that germs are embedded in nearly every surface on the airplane and they can stay there for a long time.

Auburn University put these germs to the test, looking at how long potentially deadly bacteria such as E. Coli and MRSA can live on surfaces within the cabin of a plane. They found that bacteria lived the longest on the most porous surfaces, like the cloth seat pocket where MRSA lasted seven days there. On the rubber arm rest, where MRSA lived six days and leather seat, where MRSA also lived six days.

The study found that germs lived for shorter amounts of times on less porous surfaces like tray tables but here's the catch, these germs had higher levels of transmutability, meaning they are picked up easier and more likely to transfer to your skin on contact. For example, the study found that E. Coli lived on the plastic tray table for three days and the steel toilet handle for two days. And MRSA lived on the plastic window shade for five days.

If this has your skin crawling, one microbiology professor suggests to make sure to protect yourself when flying by bringing hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes with you on the plane and wipe down everything, including your hands before you eat anything.



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