Planes are notoriously cold, so you can’t be blamed if the first thing you do when you sit down and buckle up is to turn off the air that’s blowing right down on top of you. But here’s the thing: a doctor suggests shutting off your own personal air could actually increase your chance of picking up a bug during the flight, which could later make you sick.
Dr. Mark Gendreau, medical director and vice chair of emergency medicine at Lahey Medical Center-Peabody in Massachusetts, just so happens to be something of an expert when it comes to the spread of infectious diseases as a result of air travel, and he spoke to Travel + Leisure about his thoughts on the benefit of keeping your air vent on.
“For airborne viruses, it is incredibly important to ventilate, since ventilation becomes your main means of control besides isolating the affected person,” Dr Gendreau explained.
Air conditioning is especially important in the prevention of spreading airborne viruses, which are transmitted by tiny droplets of nuclei that can lurk in the air for up to five hours. The doctor explains that these droplets are prevented from reaching you, however, if you leave your vent on. This is because the flow of air creates an air barrier around you which blocks the particles from getting all up in your grill.
And it’s interesting, because there’s an assumption from most people that germs are spread further thanks to air broadening their reach. But Dr. Gendreau explained that, actually, “the air that you’re typically breathing and exposed to is usually anywhere from two to five rows surrounding your seat.
“The flow pattern of air on an aircraft doesn’t necessarily work front to back, or back to front. It’s actually compartmentalized into various sections on the aircraft,” he told Travel + Leisure.
So there you go: if you want to keep sicky germs at bay, keep that air flowing. Or, you know, wear some kind of mask.
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From: Cosmopolitan UK