Lifestyle

Germs galore on plane seat belts and security scan trays

This piece of news may just put you off your next flight. 

An undercover team from The Today Show went testing for germs in places like seat belts on planes and airport security scan trays on three cross-country flights in America. 

Germaphobes will be horrified to know that nine out of 13 samples taken came back teeming with harmful bacteria, some of them highly dangerous. 

One security scan tray had evidence of faecal matter that could make people sick. 

The trays used for holding personal belongings at security scans contained some nasty germs.

“We're talking about skin or soft-tissue infections, which can potentially lead to overwhelming infections in your bloodstream,” said Dr Robert Glatter, an emergency room doctor at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital, told The Today Show. 

Tray tables on planes did not fare any better either. 

Ms Hollis Gillespie, a travel expert who worked as a flight attendant for 23 years, said she is not surprised as she has seen people changing their baby’s diapers on the tray table.

But seat belts were worse - one test found bacteroides, which are bacteria that live in our gut and intestines. 

Armrests were clean but not the trays or the seat belts. 

"These are dangerous bacteria that cause serious infections," Dr Glatter said, adding that they can be transferred by skin contact.

On the positive side, the touch screens at airport self-service machines were germ free, despite the many fingers that tap it every day. Plane seat armrests were also germ-free. 

Ms Gillespie also has additional advice for those seeking to avoid germs:

  1. Do not walk around barefoot because of dirty carpets. 
  2. Check the seat-back pocket before reaching inside - some travellers put back used air-sickness bags.
  3. Scrub down everything around you with anti-bacterial wipes for a peace of mind. 

Source: The Today Show

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