While you’re asked to take off your shoes and coats at airport security, you might want to slip on some gloves.
A new study finds that the plastic bins used at security checkpoints are crawling with more germs than are commonly found in public restrooms, CNN reports.
Researchers from the University of Nottingham in the UK and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare wrote in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases that live viruses — including rhinovirus and influenza — were found on 10 per cent of the surfaces tested at Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport, including payment terminals, staircase railings, passport-checking counters, and children’s play areas.
The security trays were especially germ-ridden, in part because they are handled by nearly every traveller who passes through the airport, researchers said.
If gloves aren’t an option, travellers are advised to use hand sanitizer immediately after passing through security in order to avoid spreading germs.
“People can help to minimize contagion by hygienic hand washing and coughing into a handkerchief, tissue or sleeve at all times but especially in public places,” according to the study.
The researchers also called on airports to make available “hand sanitization opportunities where intense, repeat touching of surfaces takes place such as immediately before and after security screening.”