Verify: Are You More Likely To Get Sick After Flying?

Verify: Do Airplanes Make You Sick?

Remember the good ole' days of flying? There were blankets, pillows, even shared headphones.

Now the idea of sharing any of that makes your skin crawl when you think about the germs.

For most people, coming down with a cold after flying seems almost inevitable. But are you really more likely to get sick after flying? We verified.

Usually people blame getting sick on the recirculated cabin air, but an International Air Transportation Association study says that in-cabin HEPA filters get rid of 99.99% of germs and microbes in the air. Plus, only half the cabin air is recirculated. So, no, the cabin air won't get you sick. 

How about the airplane bathrooms? Drexel Medicine calls them the germiest place on a plane. It makes sense, there are only a couple bathrooms and more than 100 people on board. Drexel goes as far as to say don't touch anything in there with your bare hands -- use a paper towel as a buffer. 

So, what about the seatback pocket and tray table? They're deceptively dirty. In a study by Travelmath, microbiologists found 2,155 colony forming bacteria per square inch on tray tables in four different planes. To put that in context, they found only 265 CFU on the toilet's flush button! And a study by Auburn University found bacteria can live in seat-back pockets for up to a week.

Add in some jet lag, which Cambridge University says can run down your immune system and -- yes -- we can VERIFY, there's a reasonable chance you'll get sick after you fly.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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