‘Tis the season of sharing gifts and traveling to see friends and family. We’ve got some tips to make sure your hotel stays are healthy.
When you check into your hotel room, have you ever wondered if the guest that checked-out a few hours before had a cold or the flu? You’re going to be sleeping in the same room, snuggling with the same comforter, and touching the same TV remote. So you’ll want to make sure that your room is clean for your own protection.
According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, influenza virus particles are continually circulating in the air (airborne) in different forms (within dust particles or aerosol droplets). These amounts are likely insufficient to cause disease in people (the immune system of healthy humans prevents infection).
How about these scenarios: Have you ever stepped inside your hotel room and known right away that the guest before you had been smoking? Most hotels don’t allow smoking in guest rooms and charge a hefty fine if you break the rules, but that doesn’t prevent some folks from lighting up. Or how about the oceanfront hotel in which you paid a premium for a view, but rather than that fresh air smell, the room is musty.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cite the most common causes of indoor air quality (IAQ) problems in buildings are:
- Not enough ventilation, lack of fresh outdoor air or contaminated air being brought into the building
- Poor upkeep of ventilation, heating and air-conditioning systems, and
- Dampness and moisture damage due to leaks, flooding or high humidity
- Occupant activities, such as construction or remodeling
- Indoor and outdoor contaminated air
Indoor air quality can also be affected by outdoor air pollutants. Comparative risk studies performed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its Science Advisory Board (SAB) have consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health.
These studies indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times—and occasionally more than 100 times—higher than outdoor levels.
Most hotels have a central air filtration system, but it doesn’t always combat all the airborne allergens and germs. You can be proactive and ask the hotel for an air purifier to be brought to your room to help you breathe easier—literally and figuratively. Many hotels have portable air purifiers, just call ahead.
Mindful Hotel Trend is in the Air
Hospitality wellness companies such as Pure Wellness and Delos have partnered with hotel brands to equip guest rooms with mounted and portable air purification systems.
Available in 300 hotels globally, Pure Wellness has designed “Pure Rooms,” available with hotel brands that include Marriott, Hampton Inn, Embassy Suites, and Hyatt. Wellness technology company Delos developed the “Stay Well” brand found in more than 1,000 hotel rooms, including Wyndham, Marriott, and MGM Grand hotels.
On the Surface
Travelmath conducted a study at nine hotels and found that the bathroom counter is the worst culprit for harboring germs, followed by the remote control, the desk, and the phone. For this study, Travelmath tested for the presence of various types of bacteria (including bacilli and cocci), yeast, and gram-positive rods (bacteria that cause various ailments, such as skin infections and pneumonia) and gram-negative rods (bacteria that cause respiratory and other infections).
Travelmath suggests that you can disinfect most of these surfaces fairly quickly with antibacterial wipes or spray. And rather than disinfecting the remote control, one solution is to seal it in a clear plastic sandwich bag before using it.