It's no surprise that airplanes are full of germs. With passengers from all over the world boarding and spreading out--across seats, in bathrooms, in seat-back pockets-the spread of germs is simply unavoidable.
But do you know where the most germ-filled places on an airplane really are? We do. And it's not what you think.
In a new study by Drexel Medicine, the six germiest places on a plane are revealed. #1? Seat pockets. According to the study, "from used tissues to fingernail clippings and dirty diapers, people stuff all kinds of germ-infested materials into airplane seat pockets." It's not clear who is stuffing fingernail clippings into seat-back pockets, but if it's a possibility, I'm going to be keeping my stuff on my lap from now on.
Tray tables are the second dirtiest spot on a plane, and Drexel Medicine suggests wiping down the tray table with a disinfectant wipe before you eat (or even before you put it down to do a crossword puzzle or read a magazine).
In addition to tray tables and seat pockets, airline-issued blankets and pillows and touchscreen TVs are also breeding grounds for germs.
Even if blankets and pillows come wrapped in plastic, there's no way to guarantee that they've been properly cleaned after the last passenger used them. The best solution is to just bring your own if you know you're going to need them.
Perhaps the grossest revelation to come from the study is the news that the TV screens that provide us with endless hours of entertainment on long-haul flights are actually coated in germs. It's unrealistic to suggest we stop using them, but Drexel Medicine suggests avoiding touching your face or putting your fingers in your mouth after touching the screen.
Bathrooms and in-flight magazines were almost among the most germ-filled things on a plane, but if you want to avoid getting sick (or just avoid getting totally grossed out), the bottom line is this: don't board a flight without hand sanitizer-- you need it more than you think.
Read the complete study here.