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When you’re racing to catch a flight, you’re probably not thinking about all the germs lurking at the airport’s self check-in kiosks. In fact, you’re probably thinking, I hope I inserted my credit card properly so we can get on with the show here.
Unfortunately, it may, in fact, be time to consider those germs. Texas-based InsuranceQuotes.com recently completed 18 tests across six surfaces inside of three major U.S. airports and airline flights. The results aren’t pretty.
“We sent our swabs to the lab and found the average number of viable bacteria and fungal cells per square inch, or colony-forming units (CFU), to see how clean traveling really is,” the company explained on their website. Overall, they found the self check-in kiosks were germiest of all the spots they tested with 253,857 CFU. Even worse, one kiosk at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta recorded an astonishing 1 million+ CFU! Securing the not-so-coveted silver medal were airline gate bench armrests with 21,630 CFU, and the water fountain button trailing closely behind with 19,181 CFU for the bronze (You’re hitting that with your elbow already though, right?). As a point of comparison, the average home toilet seat has 172 CFU.
Of course, avoiding these kiosks and other icky spots isn’t the only method to avoid getting sick while traveling. Once you’ve safely landed at your destination, you’ll also want to keep these 7 ways to avoid germs during a hotel stay in your back pocket—tucked beside your hand sanitizer.