They don’t call the 10:20 PM flight from the west coast to the east coast the red eye for nothing! But honestly – it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. Normally, I struggle to sleep on planes (again – that fear of publically sleeping with my mouth open) but I tossed a blanket over my head, popped in my earbuds, and listened to the soothing sounds of the iPhone Ambiance app (my favorite is the indoor rain noise). And I was out. Thank goodness!
Yes, I wear glasses! Well, normally contacts. My glasses are from 2000. I tried to upgrade them last year but I’m so attached to these frames – and they’re practically indestructible.
I woke up from my deep, peaceful airplane slumber with one thought in my head – hand sanitizer – and thought this would be a fun little debate. Do you use hand sanitizer? Or do you think we’re slowly creating super germs?
I am a HUGE FAN of hand sanitizer, especially when I travel. I credit the alcoholic stuff with saving my health, despite so many trips through airports and on planes. In case you’re also the type of person who LOVES ‘germiest places’ factoids (wait – is that only me?!), here are the most bacteria- and virus-laden spots in an airport, according to this article:
Airplane bathrooms (side note: do you know how many people I see walk into airplane bathrooms WITHOUT shoes or socks on?!)
Floor at security
The magazines and catalogues in the seat pocket in front of you
Public water fountains
Previously used airline pillows and blankets
So, obviously, using hand sanitizer often and generously when I travel gives me the piece of mind that I’m not picking up E. Coli every time I use the plane bathroom. But, of course, there are drawbacks to hand sanitizer, and sometimes, I can tell my seatmates that I’m a little insane when I start sanitizing the tray table (in my defense, I haven’t gotten sick once this travel season – knock on wood).
Critics of hand sanitizers say that the gels or foams cannot really cut through dirt (or grease or blood) and hand-washing is still necessary. But if you’re stuck in a situation in which you REALLY cannot wash your hands – it’s better than nothing. Another compliant? It kills ‘good’ bacteria and dries out our skin. Some studies, however, say that our bodies naturally replace the bacteria quickly; I do find the drying factor to be annoying. And last, but not least, (and I was very surprised to learn this) many experts believe hand sanitizer is not very effective against influenza (the flu) because the disease is primarily spread by being breathed directly into the lungs; however, other experts argue that touching the virus and then touching your nose or mouth can spread it, too.
If you’re going to use hand sanitizer, be sure to read the label: Studies suggest that anything below 60% alcohol is ineffective at killing germs. Also, don’t skimp – I use a quarter-size amount and rub my hands until dry (while singing two rounds of ‘Happy Birthday’ in my head – just like for hand washing) . The CDC says if your hands dry within 10 – 15 seconds, you haven’t used enough sanitizer to be effective.
So – what’s your vote? Are you a hand sanitizer fan or think it’s all a bunch of hooey? Any funny hand sanitizing stories? Are you an airport neat freak? Let’s debate!
Other little debates (some serious, some not so serious):
I started using hand sanitizer around the whole avian flu panick but I found it very addictive. Before I knew it I was scared of touching my computer keyboard (that thing is dirty despite the fact I wipe it clean a few times per week!) So I finally decided that my sanity was more important and stopped using a sanitizer. Thankfully I do not seem to get sick more often than before.