When you’re at the airport, the sheer amount of people around means you are touching a lot of places where others have already been. Sexy, right? Those with mysophobia might want to look away now as this is all about germs.

A study by the University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare looked at this at Helsinki-Vantaa to see how pandemics might spread.

Germs Everywhere

The most common place to find germs at an airport. Is it the toilets? Maybe the place where you enter your PIN number when shopping? Passport control perhaps? For sure it has to be the children’s play area? How about railings on stairs?

It’s none of those. Germs are most commonly found on the security screening trays – yes, there are more there than on the toilets. Pretty gruesome really, but when you think about it, probably not much of a surprise.

Time For Gloves?

Security staff always have gloves on, and I always put that down to the fact they need to delve into passengers bags, which probably have questionable contents more often than not.

However, it’s probably also because it’s just not the cleanest environment. How often do you clean the inside of your luggage? I can tell you that my 13 year old Samsonite has never been cleaned, not once.

The most prevalent virus detected in the study was the rhinovirus which causes the common cold. People fearing germs need not worry about an outbreak of Ebola from a security tray.

Considering all the times I have flown, I have never become sick as a result of what could be on a security tray. Dublin Airport report the trays do get cleaned on a continuous cycle, so it’s not like they are never checked. Gloves are probably not required.

Overall Thoughts

Germs are everywhere in our day to day life, so a person is never really going to escape them. It’s why humans have an immune system and for the most part never notice them.

Still, you might want to make sure you wash your hands a little more frequently when you travel, just in case. Perhaps the hand sanitisation stations cruise ships have would be helpful in airports. Who knows!

What do you think of the study? Are you surprised the security trays came out worst? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Images via Dublin Airport.
With thanks to The Irish Times and The Irish Independent.