By Lisa Penza
It’s no secret that the holidays are the busiest travel time of the year. Airport traffic from Thanksgiving through New Years is massive, leading to millions of hands on doorknobs, arm rests, table tops, etc. This seasons travelers include more than just your family – air and surface borne pathogens also number in the holidays frequent flyers. With flu season also upon us, the most important thing to pack is knowledge is how to avoid germs!
Healthy cleaning expert Peter J. Sheldon Sr. of Coverall Health-Based Cleaning System, one of the world’s largest commercial cleaning companies, knows all too well of an airport’s germy nature. Through contact or air, they can get into our systems and wreak havoc. Anyone else see Contagion this year? It’s no coincidence that we are shown the swiftness of disease spreading in an airport – with people coming together from many places and climates, we have germs accumulating from all over the world. Like a United Nations of bacteria!
So what are the five germiest areas of your local airport? Peter’s counting them down:
5. Airline blankets and pillows. Peter says: “On a typical flight with 100 passengers, statistics show that about five will be ill with a cold or the flu. Zonked out on cold medicine, these folks might enjoy a cozy nap with their airline pillow and blankie. But, upon touchdown, rapid clean-ups between flights means that when you board, there’s a good chance you could be using a pillow that’s been drooled or sneezed on within the past hour.”
Peter’s solution: “Bring your own. Or, if you’re cramped for suitcase space, throw some clothes into a pillow case at home, tie it shut and bring that along to rest your head. Wear or carry an extra layer, like a sweater or light jacket”
Of course, bacteria isn’t the only thing to worry about where pillows are concerned. With overcrowded airports and full planes, lice can make their rounds. Keep your head lice free with Licenders Natural Repellent. Made with all natural ingredients, apply this repellent to the back of your neck, ears and wrists before reclining for a mid-air nap. Available at http://www.licenders.com/
4. The airport water fountain. Peter says: “Between the high cost of beverages in the terminal and FAA rules that disallow liquid containers over a certain size, it may be tempting to drink from the public fountain, or to refill an empty bottle here. … Don’t do it. Public drinking fountains can harbor as many as 2.7 million bacteria per square inch on the spigot. It’s not worth the risk to save a few bucks.”
Peter’s solution: “Buy one from a vendor in the terminal. Once on board the plane, ask for bottled water from the beverage cart. Do not, however, drink “tap” water from the plane (or coffee or tea made from it). Studies have shown airplane water may contain contaminants such as E. coli and others as a result of questionable techniques for filling the tanks and improper/malfunctioning filter systems.”
While water is key, I stay hydrated and feel great with MY BODY SHOTS. Charged with electrolytes, these come in several combinations to meet the needs of your daily life. MY BODY SHOTS Electro Travel contains a mix of electrolytes, Vitamin C and Vitamin B to keep weary travelers hydrated. For an extra lift during this busy season, try MY BODY SHOTS Electro Immunity, which contains electrolytes, Vitamin D3, Astragalus, Panax Ginseng, and many other important vitamins for a boost of immunity. Important for flu season! These are packaged in neat little shots of 2.5 oz that can fit in anyone’s carryon.
3. Airline magazines and catalogs. Peter says: “Studies show that many people don’t bother to wash their hands at all, even when using the (airplane restroom). One study found that as many as 30% don’t wash up after using the airport restroom, either. Add in the usual coughs, sneezes and runny noses that carry thousands of germs to every surface, and those magazines and catalogs in the seatback pocket are a virtual biohazard. And, how many times have you seen someone absent-mindedly lick their finger to help turn the page?”
Peter’s solution: “Bring your own reading material and avoid touching anything in that seatback pocket unless you absolutely must refer to the emergency evacuation instructions.”
If you simply must take a look at what SkyMall has to offer, tuck some antibacterial hand sanitizer in your bag. Try essence of BEAUTY Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer, available at your local CVS or http://www.cvs.com. These come in numerous flowery and fruity scents and contain moisture beads to keep hands hydrated, all while killing 99.99% of bacteria. If the flowery isn’t for you and you want something, dare I say it, a bit more manly, check out Organic Male OM4 Ecopur Hand Sanitizer. This waterless, organic antibacterial sanitizer is not only clinically proven to be effective against e. coli, pneumonia and staph, it also hydrates and helps keep skin looking and feeling young. Find this at http://om4men.com.
2. The floor at security. Peter says: “As you stroll barefooted through the security checkpoint, have you considered the millions who have gone before you? Athlete’s foot and other fungal infections can easily be left behind, just waiting for their next host.”
Peter’s solution: “Wear (or bring) socks when traveling to avoid going barefoot.”
Give your feet a healthy kick in Aetrex Copper Sole™ Socks. Embedded with copper ions, these socks both help to rejuvenate skin by aiding in collagen formation, but also defends against 99.9% of bacteria and fungi that cause foot odor. A sock that protects and enhances, and in a heavy foot traffic time, your feet will thank you! Pick these up at http://www.aetrex.com/categories/Aetrex-Copper-Sole-Socks/.
1. The airplane bathroom. Who didn’t see this one coming? Peter says: “The airplane washroom is hands-down the germiest place on the trip. Numerous studies have shown that these are teeming with E. coli on almost every surface. Because they are rarely sanitized between flights, there is also the cumulative effect of hundreds of users before it gets a good scrubbing. The tiny sink makes it nearly impossible to thoroughly wash your hands, and those who manage it are instantly greeted by the germy door handle upon departure.”
Peter’s solution: “Avoid using the on-board facilities if at all possible. If you must, use a paper towel to turn faucets off and on, to close the lid before flushing (always a good idea, even at home) and to open the door. Carry sanitizing wipes in your pocket and use them thoroughly and immediately upon exit. Back at your seat, repeat sanitizing if you’ve touched anything along the way.”
Ok, admission time. I’ve gotten myself in the habit of spraying my hand sanitizer on public toilet seats, even carrying around a special bottle for specifically that purpose. You just never know who last used that seat! However, I’ll be leaving that extra bottle home and using Sit Easy Toilet Seat Sanitizer. Alcohol and odor free, these can be used discretely in that tiny airplane bathroom to kill 99.99% of bacteria. The spray is easy to use, and can even extend outside the toilet seat. Who knows who last touched that armrest? Spritz. Or the carry on door handle? Spray. Your tray table? Keep it on you for a whole host of germ ridden areas, and stay healthy! Find this at http://www.isabellacatalog.com/p/Sit-Easy-Set-of-2.cfm
Keep clean, keep healthy, and have a fabulous holiday season!
Peter J. Sheldon Sr., CBSE, brings over 20 years of experience in the Building Services Contracting industry to his position as Vice President of Operations and Development of Coverall Health-Based Cleaning System®. Sheldon works closely with the Coverall sales and operations teams to spearhead initiatives that further the Company’s strategic objectives and help the Company develop the most efficient and innovative cleaning processes available. Sheldon is among the elite group of building service professionals to qualify for the Certified Building Service Executive designation.