Your chances of getting a cold may go up as much as 20 percent when you board a plane, thanks to dried-out mucous membranes and sneezy people who leave germs on tray tables (where they can live for up to 72 hours). But now, a new study from Auburn University has revealed that there’s one place on planes that germs seem to love….
Kiril Vaglenov and co-author James Barbaree from Auburn University obtained material from six varying types of material from a major airline carrier (armrest, leather, metal toilet button, plastic tray table, seat pocket cloth, and window shade) and inoculated them with two forms of bacteria while being exposed to common airplane conditions. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) remained for the longest period of time (168 hours) on the seat pocket cloth, while E. coli O157:H7 remained the longest (96 hours) on the armrest material.
The MRSA bacteria lived for the least amount of time on the toilet handle!