How to Disinfect Your Space on an Airplane



Seth Wenig/Associated Press

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When a video of Naomi Campbell cleaning her airplane seat and wearing a mask and gloves was shared online last year, it made the rounds because her behavior seemed exaggerated. (“Clean everything you touch,” Ms. Campbell said in the video.)

去年,一段娜奥米·坎贝尔(Naomi Campbell)戴口罩和手套还清洁飞机座椅的视频被分享在网上。她的行为看起来有点夸张,所以视频流传甚广。(坎贝尔在视频中说:“凡是你会碰到的地方都要清理。”)

Major airlines, including Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, say they clean their planes to varying degrees between flights, and that plane cleanliness is a priority. But some travelers, including apparently Ms. Campbell, prefer the comfort of knowing they’ve also taken measures of their own to sanitize their airplane space.

包括达美航空公司和美国航空公司在内的大型航空公司表示,保持飞机的清洁是首要任务。他们会在航班之间对飞机进行不同程度的清洁。 但一些乘客更喜欢确认他们自己也采取了措施来清洁飞机空间,这其中显然包括坎贝尔。

There’s been increased attention on this in recent weeks, with the unsettling spread of the coronavirus around the world.


“The airplane and airplane seat is a public space, and we know that germs can live on surfaces for a long time, so it doesn’t hurt to clean it,” said Aaron Milstone, associate hospital epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

约翰·霍普金斯医院的流行病学家亚伦·米尔斯通(Aaron Milstone)表示: “飞机和飞机座椅都属于公共空间。我们知道细菌可以在表面上存活很长时间,所以清洁一下也无妨。”

Here are some tips for cleaning your area of a plane and keeping healthy on a flight.


Keep your hands clean and stop touching your face


“Wiping down surfaces on a plane won’t hurt, as long as it doesn’t give you a false sense of security,” Andrew Mehle, associate professor of medical microbiology and immunology at the University of Wisconsin Madison, said, stressing that sanitizing your space on a plane should be done in conjunction with washing hands and following other best practices.

威斯康星大学麦迪逊分校(University of Wisconsin Madison)医学微生物学与免疫学助理教授安德鲁·梅勒(Andrew Mehle)说:“只要清理飞机物品表面不会让你有虚假的安全感,那做这件事情也无伤大雅。”他强调,在飞机上清理你周围空间的过程中要配合勤洗手和其他一些好习惯。

Viral particles, the transmission vehicle of the coronavirus, must travel within mucus or saliva, and they must enter through eyes, nose or mouth. While the coronavirus can last on surfaces like tray tables, touch screens, door handles and faucets — one study found that other coronaviruses, like SARS and MERS stay on metal, glass and plastic for up to nine days — a disinfectant on a hard surface, or soap while washing your hands, will kill the virus.


However, most people tend to touch their faces more often than they realize. Doing so after touching a surface where droplets from when someone sneezed or coughed can lead to the virus being passed on.

然而,大多数人摸自己脸的次数都比他们意识到的更多。 在接触到某人打喷嚏或咳嗽时溅到表面的飞沫后再摸自己的脸,就会导致病毒传播。

So first things first: Wash your hands.

所以当务之急是: 洗手

“It’s just as important to think about where your hands have been and to wash your hands,” said Dr. Mehle.


Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice, and if that’s not possible, then use a generous amount of hand sanitizer.


Choose a window seat


A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window. Researchers studied passengers and crew members on 10 three- to five-hour flights and observed that people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people.

埃默里大学(Emory University)的一项研究发现,在流感季节,飞机上最安全的地方是靠窗座位。研究人员以10次飞行时间为3至5小时的航班上的乘客与机组成员为研究对象,观察到坐在临窗座位上的人们与可能患病的人接触较少。

“Book a window seat, try not to move during the flight, stay hydrated and keep your hands away from your face,” said Vicki Stover Hertzberg, a professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and one of the lead researchers on the study. “Be vigilant about your hand hygiene.”

“订一个靠窗座位,在飞行途中尽量不要走动,保持体内水分充足,不要用手接触面部,”上述研究的主要研究者之一、埃默里大学罗琳斯公共卫生学院(Rollins School of Public Health)的生物统计学与生物信息学教授薇琪·斯托弗·赫茨伯格(Vicki Stover Hertzberg)说,“对你的手部卫生保持警觉。”

Disinfect hard surfaces


When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down too. Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.


“It’s not bad to wipe down the area around you, but it’s worth remembering that the coronavirus is not going to jump off the seat and get into your mouth,” Dr. Milstone said. “People should be more careful of touching something dirty then putting their hands on their faces.”


Disinfecting wipes typically say on the packaging how long a surface needs to stay wet in order for them to work. That time can range from 30 seconds to a few minutes. In order for the wipes to work, you need to follow those time requirements.


Dr. Hertzberg added that if there’s a touch-screen television, you should use a tissue when touching the screen. Using a paper towel or tissue ensures that there’s a barrier between a surface that might have droplets and your hands, which will likely make their way to your face.


“Someone who has been sick and coughing might have touched the door and the faucet, so use wipes in the bathroom then use paper towels to open the door and to close the faucet then throw those in the trash on the way out,” said Bernard Camins, the medical director for infection prevention at the Mount Sinai Health System.

“一些生病和咳嗽的人可能已经碰过了门和水龙头,所以在洗手间里时要使用湿巾,并用厚纸巾开门和关闭水龙头,接着在离开洗手间时把湿巾和厚纸巾扔进垃圾桶,”西奈山医疗系统(Mount Sinai Health System)的传染预防医学主任伯纳德·卡明斯(Bernard Camins)说。