Just take a look around yourself and you will meet many such travellers who are anxious about turning on the air vent in a flight.
Reason? People fear that the air vent in a flight will make one sick or downright chilly–a proof of which are the number of social media users expressing their concern over keeping the air vent on, while travelling in a plane.
However, specialists have proposed a theory, that seems to challenge our assumptions as misconception.
Dr Mark Gendreau, medical director and vice chair of emergency medicine at Lahey Medical Centre-Peabody, revealed that the air vent can actually help you fight infectious diseases that are associated with air travel.
Airborne viruses are transmitted by tiny droplet nuclei that tend to hang in the air for up to five hours. Since planes have low humidity, our mucous membranes can dry out when onboard, making us susceptible to contracting a virus.
And how does the air vent help?
According to Gendreau, the air that we typically breathe and are exposed to, in a flight, is anywhere from two to five rows surrounding our seat. Each of these sections (known as temperature control zones), receive air from overhead distribution nozzles that flows through the length of the cabin. The air then exits the plane through a grill that’s often located beneath the windows, or where the side walls meet the floor of the plane.
This air then combines with the one outside, before going through a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air), to clear away dust and microbes before re-entering the plane, as reported by Travel + Leisure.
This functioning of the system dates back to the times when smoking was permitted on flights. And so, HEPA filters are equipped to remove maximum amount of dust and microbes in the air.