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How To Sanitise Your Seat On A Plane

These are the tips and tricks to keep in mind if you want to keep your space on a plane clean.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced this afternoon an extended travel ban to the Republic of Korea, as well as enhanced measures to screen those travelling from Italy. It comes as a total of 52 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Australia.

A Qantas flight to London was cancelled last night in order to clean the aircraft after it was confirmed a previous passenger also had coronavirus.

A spokesperson from Qantas stated that the grounded QF1 flight was to undergo a cleaning operation in addition to the usual measures taken after every flight.

The Australian airline was last week ordered with an improvement notice from SafeWork NSW. Their investigation uncovered a number of alarming cleaning practices, such as wiping tray tables with the same dirty cloth, and handling soiled nappies, blood, and vomit without protective gear.

There are measures you can take to protect your health on a plane. Image: Getty

Long before fears of a spreading coronavirus reached fever pitch, cautious travelers have recommended disinfecting plane seats and surrounding spaces.

Following the outbreak, there has been a surge in interest in Australians wanting to know exactly what they need to do to keep themselves and the space around them as clean and hygienic as possible, especially while on flights.

In order to stay as healthy and hygienic as possible during a flight, there are a number of things you can do to create a clean and sanitised space. 

What should I bring?

Opt for disinfectant wipes rather than sprays, they're easier to store and more effective on hard surfaces. They're also less intrusive for those seated around you.

Be sure to check the back of the packet for instructions as that will indicate how long you must wait for the product to dry. You can also pack masks and a small bottle of hand sanitiser.

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What should I clean?

First and foremost, wipe down your tray table. According to a study from 2015, they can be dirtier than the plane toilet. A microbiologist collected samples from four different flights, and found that tray tables harbour 2,155 CFU per square inch --  eight times the amount found on the toilet flush button.

Wipe down all hard surfaces you may come in contact with during the flight, particularly any buttons and nozzles, such as the overhead air vents and the seat belt buckle.

To avoid damaging any devices like the television screen with the residue from sanitary wipes, you can cover your hands with paper towels or tissues when touching it.

Don't wipe down porous surfaces, like an upholstered seat cover. This is counter-intuitive as a wet surface is more likely to spread germs. Bring a blanket from home if you want to minimise your body's contact with the seat.

Washing your hands thoroughly and regularly is also one of the easiest things you can do to keep yourself healthy. The National Health Service have outlined that to effectively wash your hands, sing 'Happy Birthday' twice in your head, or any song with a 20 second duration.

Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds. Image: Getty

Where should I sit?

Where you sit does determine the amount of germs you are exposed to during your plane journey. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2018 found that it is best for your health is you choose the window seat.

The American study found that only 43 percent of those who seated by the window got up during cross-country flights, as opposed to 43 percent in the middle, and 62 percent of those seated by the aisle.

So by sitting by the window, in a way, you are self-quarantining from the majority of other passengers.

Wherever you sit, limit your movement around the plane as much as you can. By minimising the amount of contact you have with other passengers, you're less likely to catch an illness.

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Should I wear a mask?

At this stage, Australian health authorities are only urging those who are ill or those who have been in contact with coronavirus patients to wear masks. But many passengers are opting to wear masks on flights for added peace of mind.

Medical professionals have advised that people should try to minimise the amount of times they touch their faces with their hands. Wearing a mask could assist with this.

Featured Image: Getty

Do you have a lifestyle story or personal experience to share with us? Reach out and tell us about it at alenton@networkten.com.au