Stay Healthy While Flying

The following are common places germs breed on airplanes: ·       Airplane water used to make coffee, tea, and offered when bottled water is no longer available comes from airplane tanks which sometimes tests positive for E. coli, one version of which is the leading cause of food poisoning.  To be safe only drink bottled liquids and stay away from ice cubes since some large planes have their own ice makers which use airplane tank water. ·     

 Airplane seat pockets are potential homes to cold and influenza viruses that can survive for hours on fabric and tissues and up to 48 hours on plastic and metal surfaces.  Avoid placing anything in your seat pocket, don’t reach for the flight magazine waiting in the seat pocket, and bring an easy to access carry-on bag. ·     

 Airplane tray tables are petri dishes for all kinds of illnesses, including the superbug MRSA which is often fatal.  An estimated 20,000 American annually die from MRSA.  In 2007 a University of Arizona researched tested tray tables on three major airlines and found that 60 percent tested positive for the superbug.  Your best defense is to bring disinfectant wipes to clean off your tray table before and after use.  Never eat directly off of a tray table. ·      

In-flight meals have been known at times to contain Listeria which is a microbe that causes gastrointestinal illness and meningitis.  Protect yourself by eating before you board and bringing your own snacks on your flight. ·       Airplane bathrooms are where passengers may become exposed to E coli or fecal bacteria.  The CDC cited airplane bathrooms as having serious potential for spreading disease during the H1N1 flu and SARS epidemics.  You can best shield yourself from germs by using a paper towel to close the toilet lid before flushing, use the same towel to open the door handle, and do not wash your hands because of the potential germs in tank water.  Instead bring and use hand sanitizer when you return to your seat.
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