Traveling can take a toll on your immune system and I finally know the reason why. THERE ARE GERMS EVERYWHERE. I know that fact seems pretty obvious but when you are bustling through the airport trying to make a flight you are not exactly thinking about how many people have touched that kiosk or what kind of germs the bins hold in security. Prepare yourself for the filthy truth because TODAY correspondent Jeff Rossen delivered all the gross details of hidden airport germs. Rossen and his investigative team took three different cross-country flights, each on a separate airline, and then gathered samples on everything you would normally come into contact with. The results might make you want to curl up into a ball and never travel again unless within the protection of a bubble.

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The good news is that when Rossen and his team tested the airport kiosk it came back with a clean result. Whew! I don’t feel that bad anymore but wait…. it gets worse so much worse. When conducting a test on two bins that are used to collect your belongings in the security line it came back positive for fecal matter and the levels were high enough to make people sick. I’m sorry, what? Now we know the real reason those barf bags are in the seats on the plane. However, once you sit down on the plane you are still not safe. In fact, you are in the throne of germs. The highest levels of bacteria were found on tray tables, which was not surprising to Holly Gillespie, a woman who has worked as a flight attendant for 23 years. She was quoted saying, “I’ve seen it all, including people changing the baby’s diaper on the tray table.” Some things are better left unknown.

Thirteen samples were taken on each flight and nine of them returned with positive results for germs that have been described as “very serious.” Of course it is common to procedure to wipe everything down but it is being speculated that crews do not actually have enough time to properly sanitize everything. The advice that is being offered is to be careful of reaching into the seat pocket because of what fellow fliers might have left behind and to maybe carry your own antibacterial wipes and give everything a good wipe before settling in.  The video is the first part in a three part series and I seriously hope that there is better news ahead for travelers.

Head over to TODAY’s website for some tips on how to protect yourself — you’re going to need it.

What do you think of these hidden airport germs?

Brooke is a rising senior and is studying Communications and English at Graceland University. Her parents sent her to the midwest with a dowry and a mission to find a husband. She came back for the summer with no husband and no money. Brooke is currently residing in Philadelphia but she dreams of living all over the world some day, starting in Italy.

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