Microorganisms are found everywhere, especially in enclosed areas like cabins. Bacteria, like Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, micrococcus and viruses, may be present in the environment. They maybe pathogenic or non-pathogenic, so people should take precautions to avoid being infected with these pathogenic microbes.
Researches proved; however, that in ordinary situations where there were no passengers with infectious diseases, only the non-pathogenic microbes were present in the cabin air, and there was no cause for alarm.
Non-pathogenic microbes (like micrococcus), exist in the air and the environment and do not usually cause pathologic conditions. Some pathologic microorganisms include Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Hemophilus pertussis and, up to a minimum extent, the rhinovirus.
Airlines must have a screening procedure to make sure that persons sick with infectious diseases should be isolated in special cabins.
Ordinary colds are sometimes overlooked by Airlines personnel as the passenger may not be exhibiting the viral symptoms. The colds viruses though, of which the most common is rhinovirus; are very contagious because they are easily airborne and could travel through the air from one person to another.
The following extra precautions therefore, should be observed by passengers:
1. Any coughing person should be reported to the stewardess for proper management. Do not stay in the direct path of the person's cough projectile. The droplets from the cough are contagious.
2. Wash your hands with soap and water every time you go to the john and before you eat. Washing hands is still the best prevention against infection.
3. Make sure you bring with you a hand sanitizer or an alcohol (70 % isopropyl alcohol) to sterilize your hands after washing before you commence with your snacks or meals. The isopropyl alcohol will eliminate most of the bacteria present in your skin.
4. Wearing a face mask with a special pore that filters all unwanted bacteria is good but would be seen as taking it to the extremes, and would prove to be embarrassing. Weren't the athletes who arrived in China with their masks on, reprimanded?
5. Remember that money is one of the most common agents of transporting infectious bacteria. Do not smell money or play with it, even if they are yours. You do not know how many change of hands happened prior to your acquiring them; and whether all the persons who had handled it were healthy.
6. Have a handy air freshener with antibacterial properties ready. This could help in minimizing bacterial multiplication, (a short spurt would do), but if airliners do not permit this because they have their own filtering and air sterilizing procedures in-flight; then there is no point in bringing one.
7. Have medications ready for first aid treatments. Antibacterial lozenges taken in, on the first sign of a soar throat generally stops the condition from progressing further.
No matter what you do, just keep in mind that microorganisms which maybe pathogenic or not, exist in the air and in every surface of the environment. You should therefore, attempt to stay as clean as possible by observing the above-mentioned precautions. Avoid getting sick from flying by being knowledgeable. Cabin air after all, does not make you sick if you know what to do, so relax and enjoy your flight.
Photo by Matt From London
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