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Sunday, August 10, 2014

The "Flying With Germs" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Reading an article in the local paper written by staff writer Mary Beth Schweigert that is about flying and travel.  Talks about the possibilities of contracting some sort of illness while on an airplane during your vacation. For those who need to travel by plane in order to reach their vacation destination there seems to be quite a few things that can go wrong, health wise.  Illnesses, infections and even deadly viruses can strike while using an airplane to reach your destination.  I know that I have fallen ill a few times during the last 15 years due to someone on the plane spreading whatever they may brought on the plane.  The air-tight vessel we are riding on can easily take any airborne germs and spread them throughout the sealed cabin through the ventilation system of the plane.  Only way to stop that is to wear a mask over your nose and mouth, and that isn't going to happen for me for fear of looking pretty stupid.  As planes come and go, there usually isn't enough time for the airline staff to thoroughly clean and sanitize the plane before it is needed once more for another flight.  So here is the top 10 list that was published in the newspaper that tells you what to avoid if you fly.  I have added my own twist to them to show you how it affected me.  The items are ranked in order  of the most to least "germiest". 

  • Tray Tables - You know, the flimsy plastic pad that you pull down in front of you to hold your food and drink.  I usually use it to hold my head when I want to sleep.  Can't imagine all the germs I pick up from that while snoozing.
  • Seat controls - I usually hit the button on the arm of the seat so I can recline and be more comfortable.  Did the person before me that used the control have some deadly virus or sneezed into his hand before they pushed that button and reclined?
  • Latches on the overhead bins.  We all use the bins to store and many times I grab hold of the edge of the bin when I trying to maneuver my bag into place.
  • Armrests - Who doesn't come in contact with the armrests?
  • Bathrooms, especially the doorknobs - I try never to use the bathroom on the plane.  First, you have to bother those in the seats next to you which I hate to do, then you probably have to stand in line in front of the passengers in the rear of the plane who all know what you are going to do when you get in the bathroom.  And, don't you often feel like you will be sucked out the bottom of the plane when you hear that swoosh after flushing the toilet while still seated?
  • In-flight magazines - I always look at them!  Sometimes I even tear out a page or two to take with me.  Can't imagine how many others may have touched them.
  • Hand rails on escalators and shuttles - I love walking on those people-movers.  Don't you hold onto the hand rails to prevent falling?  Did you just use the bathroom and not wash your hands?
  • Chairs and seats - especially cloth - I assume this means in the airport and on the plane.  
  • Airplane pillows and blankets - Now this is one item that I don't use.  Here's hoping that every one's dangerous germs are on these two items only.
  • Luggage carts and wheelchairs - I have been ushered around in a wheelchair before, but always push or pull my own luggage.  

So, looks like we shouldn't fly anymore, doesn't it.  What's left that doesn't carry germs and disease?  Carol and I will soon travel to Hawaii, a flight that seems like years in the air!  I'm just hoping that I don't pick up some dreaded bug while on my way to and from, and hoping also that I don't give whatever I may have to anyone else on the plane.  And, I won't lose any sleep worrying about flying and the germs.  If I was that paranoid, I'd drive their instead!!  HA!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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