VERIFY: Are you more likely to get sick after flying?

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QUESTION: Are you more likely to get sick after flying?

SOURCES: 

International Air Transportation Association 

Travelmath

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 Auburn University

PROCESS:

For of us, getting sick or coming down with a cold after flying seems almost inevitable. But are you really more likely to catch something while flying?

Usually people think they're getting sick from breathing in that recirculated cabin air, but our verify team checked out an  International Air Transportation Association study.  That study shows the HEPA filters installed in the plane eliminate 99.99% of germs and microbes in the air.  Also, only about 50% of the air is recirculated.  So experts say it's not the cabin air that will get you sick.

But beware those airplane bathrooms. Our team reached out to Drexel Medicine, who calls them the germiest place on a plane. It makes sense, there are only a couple bathrooms and more than 100 people on board. Drexel goes as far as to say don't touch anything in there with your bare hands -- use a paper towel as a buffer. 

So, what about the seatback pocket and tray table? They're deceptively dirty. Our team tracked down a study by Travelmath, microbiologists found 2,155 colony forming bacteria per square inch on tray tables in four different planes. To put that in context, they found only 265 CFU on the toilet's flush button! To back that up, a study by Auburn University found bacteria can live in seat-back pockets for up to a week.

Add in some jet lag, which Cambridge University says can run down your immune system and -- yes -- we can VERIFY, there's a reasonable chance you'll get sick after you fly.

Remember, most airlines only do a quick cleaning after each flight.  The World Health Organization suggests they do a deeper clean every 24 hours.