Why You Should Seriously Consider Leaving Your Air Vent On The Next Time You Fly

The next time you find yourself debating whether or not to turn off the ventilation above your seat on a plane, you might want to think again.

Some people might be under the impression that the air on a plane is stale and filled with airborne germs, so closing the overhead vent might be a good idea. However, science says that the opposite is true.

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In fact, using the tiny air vent above your seat can help keep you safe from airborne illnesses circulating in the cabin. According to Dr. Mark Gendreau — the medical director and vice chair of emergency medicine at Lahey Medical Center-Peabody, it works by creating an invisible air barrier around you that blocks the tiny virus-carrying droplets from settling on you. Essentially, the vent creates turbulence that keeps the airborne microbes from lingering near your person, forcing them to the floor more quickly.

And as for that belief that the air on airplanes is teeming with bacteria, that’s also not really the case. About 50 percent of the air in a plane cabin actually comes from the outside, while the remaining half is filtered 15 to 30 times per hour using HEPA filters.

For more travel tips, check out the best places to see the northern lights across America.