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How to Avoid Getting Sick on a Plane, According to Science

How to Avoid Getting Sick on a Plane, According to Science
From TIME - March 20, 2018

Choosing the right seat may be the simplest way to stay healthy on your next flight, according to a new study.

Picking the window seatand staying put for the duration of your flightminimizes your chances of coming into contact with a sick passenger and picking up their pathogens yourself, according to a paper published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. People seated along the aisle are most likely to encounter potentially ill passengers or crew members as they move around the plane, possibly upping their chances of infection.

That finding may seem obvious, but the study is among the first to look specifically at how disease spreads on airplanes, given the widespread belief that flying raises your risk of getting sick.

The researchers behind the new paper traveled on 10 domestic flights, tracking the movements of passengers and crew members during the trips. During the 10 flights, which lasted between 3.5 and five hours each, they only observed one person actively coughing. Swabbing and testing seatbelt buckles also didnt turn up evidence of any of 18 different respiratory-illness-causing viruses on any of the planes, even though eight of the flights occurred during flu season.

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