Cabin Fever

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Still, can dry air on board af­fect our nat­u­ral de­fenses? It’s doubt­ful, says the Hy­giene Coun­cil’s John Ox­ford,“You are far more likely to catch some­thing in the taxi to the air­port, which has no ef­fec­tive air pu­rifi­ca­tion in place.”

Ac­cord­ing to Ox­ford, a prime rea­son for peo­ple to fall ill after a flight may not be any­thing in the air, but the“fe­cal-oral route.”This is peo­ple who don’t wash their hands after leav­ing the toi­let, then leave traces of their fe­ces on the door han­dle and ev­ery­where else they touch. Then, if you touch the han­dle on your way out (hav­ing washed your hands) and eat a bread roll upon re­turn­ing to your seat, you are more likely to fall ill. The qual­ity of air will be ir­rel­e­vant.

This ob­ser­va­tion is prob­a­bly worth bear­ing in mind, com­ing from Ox­ford – some­one who, as well as be­ing so se­nior in his field, hasn’t had flu for 30 years. His ad­vice: Wash your hands, take hand san­i­tizer with you when you travel and if you see some­one cough­ing and sneez­ing, try to keep your dis­tance as much as pos­si­ble. BT

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