While COVID seems to be subsiding in many parts of America, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still be concerned with germs. And now that more and more people are flying again, it’s a good time to remind folks that there are a lot of germy areas in our nation’s airports.
While COVID exposure seems to be relatively low on planes thanks to filtration systems and advanced sanitation procedures, the same isn’t necessarily true for airports, so next time you’re in one you may want to take extra care in certain places.
The germiest places in the airport include:
- Chair Armresets– Experts say seats around boarding gates are frequently touched, but rarely cleaned, which makes them “hot spots for germ transmission.” In fact a study from just three years ago said they were some of the dirtiest areas of the airport.
- Handrails– Handrails on escalators, stairs, and walk ways are also high-touch area that are rarely cleaned. It’s smart to be aware of what you touch and wash or sanitize your hands if you’ve touched one.
- Touch screens– While self-check in monitors make getting your boarding pass easier, they are rarely wiped down and touched a lot.
- Security Bins– According to a 2018 study by University of Nottingham and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, security bins, “appeared to pose the highest potential risk” for airport viruses.
- Water Fountains– A 2015 study found that drinking fountain buttons contained a high concentration of bacteria, in fact the highest of any airport surface tested.
- Bathroom surfaces– It’s no surprise that bathroom surfaces have a lot of germs, but since so many travelers use airport bathrooms daily there’s even more of a chance of touching germy surfaces. Even though they are cleaned regularly, they are also used a lot.
- Anywhere with crowds– The more people around you, the more of a chance you’ll be exposed to germs and bacteria. As one expert notes, “The best defense is to avoid close contact with people, particularly if they exhibit illness symptoms.”