Travel Trouble

How hotel air conditioners could be making you sick

How hotel air conditioners could be making you sick

So many things can be the cause of illness while on holidays, such as the sudden change in temperature and environment. But have you considered the germs that could be lurking in the air of your hotel room?

One former hotel manager, Chris Johnston, revealed what is possibly the dirtiest part of a hotel room.

Johnston revealed to Bustle that the air-conditioning vents are the germiest part of a hotel room and suggested to avoid using them if possible, The Sun reported.

“One often overlooked source of … germs is the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) unit in the room,” Johnston revealed.

“If hotel staff fail to clean the filters, or at least the top visible portion, simply turning on the unit can cause these particles to fill your room and your lungs.”

It’s recommended the filters of the aircon be changed every three months.

The relationship between air-conditioning and illness have been linked to a spread of flu within the United Arab Emirates. Due to the hot and humid weather in the country the cooling systems are widely used.

Dr Jimmy Joseph, who works at the Universal Hospital in Abu Dhabi, revealed to Gulf News, “It would certainly help if residents had their air conditioning and ventilation ducts serviced. These areas can harbour allergens, and allergy-related respiratory illnesses are known to be particularly common in the UAE.”

Another thing to avoid in hotels is using drinking glasses.

A disturbing video emerged in December 2017 of cleaners in some of China’s most luxurious five-star hotels, where guests could be paying as much as $640 a night, using a toilet brush to clean drinking glasses and mugs before moving on to the toilet bowl.

The cleaners were also exposed with indecent floor cleaning as they dunked bath towels in the toilet bowl before mopping the bathroom floor with them.

Additionally, the cleaners folded the bedsheets on the floor and used hand towels to dry the drinking glasses and mugs.

The video was supposedly shot by an undercover journalist for South China Morning Post after poor hygiene reports at the Kempinski and Shangri-la hotels in Harbin.

The reporter posed as a cleaner to be employed by the hotel and filmed the disturbing video during a trainee shift, where experienced cleaners were teaching the newly hired the unclean routines.

Reports from the Chinese media suggest the health planning commission in Harbin is investigating and plans to fine the hotels involved, while the Kempinski hotel claims the staff member shown in the video has since been fired.

Another item to steer clear of while abroad incudes the hotel’s hairdryer which can contain more germs than the toilet seat – yuck, right?

In a previous study for America’s ABC, nine hotel rooms were tested across the board, ranging from three to five stars. The test was conducted by microbiologist Charles Gerba.

“There must be some things you can do with a hair dryer that I am not aware of because some of them were pretty germy,” he revealed.

This is thought to be the case due to cleaners focusing on the more obviously dirty items within the bathroom such as the toilet, the showers and the sink, and therefore, disregarding the secret more hidden germs lurking elsewhere.

The light switches and even room service menus can be just as grimy as many dirty hands have touched the items and they most likely haven’t thought to be given a wipe down, enabling the germs to grow over time.