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4 Of The Germiest Places In Airports And On Flights

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Considering the millions of people who move about in airports and on airplanes every day, it’s no surprise that these travel hubs may make you a bit more cautious about germs.

Most germs you come across every day aren’t dangerous unless you have an immune deficiency or an open wound. Bacteria and viruses surround us, and many are harmless. But there are some spots that lots of people come into contact with that you might want to keep in mind while traveling, just to be safe.

We rounded up a few studies and experiments to point out four germy spots in airports and on flights that you might want to give a quick wipe-down before touching. Check them out below.

The Tray Table

In 2015, travel calculation site Travel Math sent a microbiologist to collect 26 samples from different surfaces in five airports and on four flights. The tray table on the back of cabin seats tested highest for bacteria, with 2,155 colony-forming units per square inch.

For reference, the lavatory flush button had 265 colony-forming units per square inch. Another spot that beat out the flush button? The overhead air vents, which had 285 colony-forming units per square inch.

The microbiologist from the Travel Math study did find that all 26 samples tested negative for fecal coliforms like E. coli. However, in a 2017 interview with Time, Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, said he’s tested tray tables on flights that hosted cold viruses, norovirus and the bacteria MRSA.

Water Fountain Buttons

Travel Math found that in the airport, water fountain buttons took the crown for the germiest spot, with 1,240 colony-forming units per square inch, while the bathroom stall locks tested for a surprising 70 colony-forming units per square inch. The Travel Math team pointed out that this may be a result of cleaning crews having regular cleaning schedules for bathrooms (for good reason), but not other areas, such as the water fountain.

In 2012, Gerba showed how germy water fountains can be in a study in which he partnered with Kimberly-Clark Professional and The Healthy Workplace Project to test samples from office buildings. They found that 23 percent of the water fountain buttons tested had high levels of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, a molecule helpful for testing for contamination.

Your Seat On The Plane

In 2014, researchers from Auburn University proved in a two-year study that bacteria can thrive on flights for several days. A major airline carrier sent researchers material from common items such as window shades, plastic tray tables and seat pockets, which researchers first sterilized before adding bacteria like MRSA and E. coli. The researchers simulated temperature and humidity levels common on a commercial flight to see how long the bacteria would survive.

The bacteria lived the longest on cabin seat material. MRSA survived for 168 hours, or seven days, on the seat-back pocket material, and E. coli lived for 96 hours, or four days, on the armrest material. The research was not meant to be “alarmist,” the team noted, but a helpful resource for airlines.

TSA Bins

In 2014, journalist Jeff Rossen and his investigative team took samples of surfaces in airports and planes as they hopped on three cross-country flights on different major airlines. Tested by microbiologists, the samples showed that TSA bins are particularly germy. One of them tested positive for “fecal matter at levels high enough to make people sick.” This isn’t all that surprising, considering people place their shoes in the bins.

Akron-Canton Airport in Ohio started combating the spread of bacteria in TSA bins in September 2017 by partnering with a local hospital to use trays lined with self-cleaning orange mats and handles.

It’s important to remember that there is room for error in studies and experiments and that many airports are already revamping their cleaning to-do lists, as USA Today reported, to include automatic floor-scrubbing machines and frequent wipe-downs of kiosks.

The reason bacteria may last so long on flights is because some cleaning crews don’t get enough time to properly sanitize the cabin. In February, The New York Times interviewed a cleaning crew member who said the workers have limited time to clean the plane before more passengers hop on.

“To clean, we need 10 to 15 minutes, but they give us seven or six,” said Sameer Yousef, who at the time was a lead cabin cleaner for a team that cleaned airplanes from United. “It’s a very big pressure for us. They don’t give us more people to help.”

To make travel easier (and cleaner) for you, wash your hands frequently. If you’re really in a bind, turn to a stash of baby wipes or some hand sanitizer ― yes, TSA should allow it as long it’s in a travel-sized container that’s 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less. Happy traveling!

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Travel & Escape

Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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