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Area: Airplane Freebies / Verdict: Gross!
All those little gadgets and amenities that serve to make your flight more comfortable and entertaining (think touchscreen TVs, armrests, fold-down trays, headrests, pillows and blankets) also function as germ multiplication zones. Anywhere you might put your hands and head have also been touched by dozens of others, so Kerr recommends giving every spot a serious cleaning with alcohol wipes. Who cares if you look like a freak? And don’t even think about putting those communal pillows and blankets near your body; Kerr says they’re “riddled with bacteria and are just legit gross.” Bring your own, or wear a soft cardigan to snuggle with safely. There’s no need to worry about the cups of water the plane crew has to offer. Gerba says that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPS) closely monitors all water used on airplanes to be sure it meets safety standards. One caveat here, though: Those freebie or rental headphones are potentially dangerous for anyone prone to ear infections. The extra pressure on the plane combined with germs is a recipe for bad news, so bring and use your own set.

What to Read Next

Gross or Dangerous? The Travel Edition

September 18, 2015

By Jill Schuck Taylor

Whether your current vacation plans involve a quick train ride to visit college friends or an 18-hour flight to some exotic locale (and if so, please try to keep the Instagram bragging to a minimum so the rest of us don’t die from envy, OK?), the journey and the destination will most likely feature some germy moments. We asked Charles Gerba, Professor of Microbiology & Environmental Sciences at theUniversity of Arizona College of Public Health, and super duper clean-personJolie Kerr, author of “My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag…And Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha,” to share how to stay safe from the ickiness that’s lurking positively everywhere.

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