With winter approaching, there is nothing Aussies dream of more than hopping on a plane, and flying somewhere just a little bit warmer.
And while most travellers are happy to bring home a couple of souvenirs – a fridge magnet for mum, a new T-shirt for dad – there’s one thing most don’t want tagging along home with them from their vacation: the flu.
Luckily, researchers have determined the safest place to sit in a plane – aka the confined metal box that’s home to all those icky germs – to avoid bringing an unwanted, and unhealthy, visitor back to your regular life.
According to The New York Post, the study’s lead researcher, Vicki Stover Hertzberg, said anyone who doesn’t want to get sick from a flight should “get in that window seat and don’t move”.
It’s believed window seats are more likely to keep people away from infectious people who may be moving around the plane and walking up and down the aisles.
As part of the study, commissioned jetliner company Boeing, researchers flew around the United States, testing the plane's cabin surfaces and air for viruses, and observed how passengers came in contact with each other during the flights.
Thanks to some "mathematical modelling" and "computer simulations", they were able to determine how likely other passengers were to come in contact with a hypothetical flu-ridden passengers sitting in the 14th row of an aircraft, on the aisle.
The study found that, on average, only one person on a flight containing 150 passengers would be catching the infection.
LISTEN: The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss why you should never, ever recline your seat back on a plane. Post continues after audio.
According to the study, those who are seated closest to a fellow passenger are the most at risk of catching the infection. The most vulnerable passengers are the two people seated to both the right and left side of the passenger, and those seated directly in front and behind.
Confining oneself to the window seat, of course, is not a surefire way to avoid catching a cold or flu from a fellow traveller. Anyone who has the flu, or who is around a person with the flu, should always ensure they cough or sneeze into their elbows (not their hands) and regularly wash their hands, or use hand sanitiser, according to NSW Health.
Frequent travellers are also advised to get a flu shot.
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