Magazine article USA TODAY

The "Dirty Little Secret" of Traveling. (Your Life)

Magazine article USA TODAY

The "Dirty Little Secret" of Traveling. (Your Life)

Article excerpt

You may be catching more than a train or a flight when traveling. Did you know that the Federal Aviation Administration does not regulate the cleaning of airplanes, or that the microscopic spray from an infected cougher can be propelled as far as 25 feet? Those who opt for road trips could be letting bacteria and viruses hitch a ride with them by making a pit stop for lunch.

"Public transportation outlets are not cleaned on a regular basis and see a large volume of travelers, creating a `petri dish' effect," warns Catharine Shaner of the American Safety and Health Institute. "Just because a surface looks clean does not mean it is." The following are some facts that may leave you sitting on the edge of your seat:

* According to an executive director of the Aviation Consumer Group, interior surfaces of a typical airplane cabin are less sanitary than a public restroom.

* The Aviation Consumer Group also had investigators from an Ohio lab test the food trays from 10 airlines and found Staphylococcus aureus, which causes skin infections like impetigo or toxic shock syndrome. …

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