Airport security is there to protect you, but it may also give you the sniffles — or worse.
To all the places and surfaces we’ve been warned are teeming with germs or bacteria — your pets, the subway seat, airplane cabins, the A.T.M. — add the airport security tray.
The plastic trays — used at airport checkpoints around the globe and touched by millions of passengers as they drop shoes, laptops, luggage and other items into them to clear X-ray scanners — have been found to harbor a variety of germs, including the ones responsible for the common cold, according to researchers in Europe.
Scientists from the University of Nottingham in England and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare swabbed frequently touched surfaces at Helsinki Airport in Finland during and after peak hours in the winter of 2016 and picked up traces of rhinovirus, the source of the common cold, and of the influenza A virus.