OK -- I admit it is Halloween (yes, my face is green) and the day brings forth strange visions of ghosts and goblins.. But this day is also perfect for a scary bit of real information. As most of you know, I travel a LOT -- different cities and hotels just about every week of the year. So as a road warrior, the findings I am about to describe, really make me sick -- literally and figuratively...
If you have a weak stomach -- STOP NOW. If not, read on... especially if you plan to travel for the holidays... but remember I warned you.
Happy Halloween, all!
On October 1, 2006, the Chicago Tribune ran an article about a study of the viruses that live on in hotel rooms LOOOOOOONNNGGG after the germ-bearing guest has departed. And the locations of these bugs were not where you would think they'd be... like the sink or toilet...
The tests were run BEFORE housekeeping had cleaned the rooms so it is likely that the findings overstate the situation somewhat. However, given that most hotel room cleaning consists of changing the sheets and towels and wiping out the bath tub, you can bet these findings are not far off.
Researchers had 15 people with "lab-confirmed" rhinovirus (the virus responsible for the common cold and I really don't want to know how they did that) spend a night in a hotel. After they checked out, the researchers tested 10 common items in the room. Here's what the research turned up as contaminated with the nasty little buggers:
1. Seven of 14 door handles
2. six out of 14 pens
3. Six out of 15 light switches, TV Remotes, and bathroom faucets
4. Five out of 15 phones
5. A number of coffee makers and alarm clocks
6. AND only ONE out of 10 toilets....
Now here is the really gross part (my eyes... my eyes...)
Several months later, the researchers asked the 15 participants to return to the hotels and visit rooms where certain items had been deliberately contaminated with their own snot -- frozen to preserve its potency, shall we say. (I want the job of smearing snot on stuff.) Surprisingly, only 5 agreed to do this -- I can't imagine why...
Each volunteer (they had to be either married to the researcher, paid a lot of money, or a real glutton for punishment...) visited two rooms and then had their hands tested for the presence of the virus. Sixty percent were contaminated by mucus that had dried on stuff for 30 minutes and 33% were contaminated by snot that had been left to dry overnight. Who thinks of these things?
The real question is, of course, what hotels agreed to this study? None were mentioned in the study...
So there you have a real horror story. Makes you want to go out and buy gallon jugs of disinfectant to take with you, doesn't it? Spray down the hotel room the minute you walk into it? But then the airlines probably won't let you take it on board...
Lesson learned? Next time you check into a hotel room, DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING... well, except maybe the toilet.
Yours in BI and traveling success!
Posted October 31, 2006 11:06 AM
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