London: Plastic security trays at airport - where we drop our phones, laptops, and other items - have the highest amount of viruses, even more than toilets, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare found that plastic trays were a haven for viruses, especially rhinovirus, which causes common cold. Other viruses found included coronavirus, adenovirus, and influenza A.
For the study, researchers examined 90 different swab surfaces inside Helsinki Airport during the winter of 2016. Samples were taken from stairs, escalators, check-in kiosk touchscreens, toilets, and security trays.
Researchers found 10 different respiratory viruses in 10pc of the samples, with plastic trays having the highest amount of viruses.
No respiratory viruses were found on toilet surfaces.
"Our main findings identify that respiratory virus contamination of frequently touched surfaces is not uncommon at airports; and that plastic security screening trays appear commonly contaminated," the researchers wrote in the study published in BMC Infectious Diseases.
So, the best way to secure yourself would be to sanitize your hands.
"The risk of this procedure could be reduced by offering hand sanitization with alcohol handrub before and after security screening, and increasing the frequency of tray disinfection," the study authors said.
Jonathan Van Tam, Professor of health protection at the University of Nottingham's school of medicine, said the study "supports the case for improved public awareness of how viral infections spread".