If there is one thing I hate even more than going through security when I fly, it is airplane lavatories (no matter the seating class) especially since I always have long flights. But one thing has been bothering me for a few weeks now, which no one on TV/printed/social media has addressed (at least as far as I know). Now that the Ebola case in the US has been extended to cover at least 80 possibly infected people from the time the man flew from Liberia-Brussels-Dulles-Dallas, I think it's worth asking. While my understanding of the disease is that it cannot be spread while the victim is asymptomatic, many doctors also insist that even then it can only be spread through contact with bodily fluids. I have repeatedly heard 'experts' say that as a result even if you were on a plane with someone who perhaps did exhibit some early symptoms, you could not catch the disease.
No one has broached the one obvious subject on airplanes where bodily fluids are ALL TOO PRESENT -- the usually disgusting lavatories (which are becoming ever smaller on some airlines). It's usually impossible to avoid using them on long flights, and I always bring extra layers of throwaway socks to discard at the end of the flight. The same experts have included urine (sorry for the discussion of bodily fluids!) as a potential form of contagion. So what is to keep the disease from spreading if someone just starting to show mild symptoms boards long flights from spreading it via lavatories?
PS -- Nothing has and nothing will (except possibly my own joints) keep me from flying, as many of you know. But I have yet to hear a single person discuss this possibility. I do, however, hope the airlines are taking a few more precautions than they are now in trying to keep lavatories somewhat cleaner.
Interesting point! I hadn't thought of that. Makes me want to be extra careful. Something to consider would be to get disposable gloves and shoe covers to use in the bathrooms then disposing of them as you leave. Seems a little crazy but when it comes to our health and the need to fly this is something to think about. I should start carrying sanitizer as well.
Will be interesting what others think.
Most of the time there is liquid on the floors and we can assume it is not water. Years ago, the flight attendants used to freshen up the lavatories but I don't think they do that any more, even in first.
A few years back when the Mexican flew hit, my son made a business trip to China and was put in quarantine for 7 days to make sure that he was not sick. Everyone coming from the US or Mexico had to go through the process. Does China do more to protect their people than the US?
I just try to avoid the lav, there are few things on earth that are as nasty as even the cleanest lav. But, I did see a very unusual sight on a UA flight (can you believe it) where the FC Flight Attendant did in fact clean the floor with gloves and a few cloth napkins which was an incredible gesture.
Unfortunately because I've been told I have a small bladder and always fly long flights, not using the lavatory is not an option for me.
But another thing we can all do for each other (that I have mostly heard from medical specialists that we should do in our homes, but I leave the latter to everyone's personal choice), is make sure to put the seat down in an airplane lavatory BEFORE you flush. Otherwise you're creating an aerosol spray of the contents.
If you remove your shoes and go to the lavatory on the airplane, you have been walking in others' urine (and more) for years. I would wear cozy socks at my seat and don shoes for the trip to the can. Don't sit in someone else's urine on the toilet seat (likely not a good idea Ebola or not) and wash hands carefully BOTH before and after using lavatory- before for you and after mostly for others. Allow the flight attendant to assist another passenger who vomits as he/she will have gloves.
Enjoy! Ebola is not contagious unless the carrier is symptomatic.