Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Bugs Fly on Planes Too

WebMD Health News

Nov. 21, 2000 -- Thanksgiving is just around the corner, but in this heavy travel season, groups representing airline employees are working hard to ensure that turkey is not the only bird on the minds of Americans.

In the past few days, these groups have managed to highlight several issues, all of which they say represent a potential risk to the health of both airline passengers and workers alike.

Among these is the potential for the passengers to fall ill as a result of poorly filtered ventilation systems. And also there's the potential for passengers to get sick because of poor sanitary practices of the nation's largest airline laundry service.

According to the Union of Needle Trade and Textile Employees, or UNITE, Royal Airline Laundry does not wash blankets or pillows used by passengers, but simply repackages them for reuse. Royal Airline Laundry is responsible for cleaning airline linens for more than 150 carriers at 20 airports. UNITE said at a press conference Monday that they were concerned about this practice in at least two facilities.

UNITE is the nation's largest apparel and textile union. It represents over 25,000 workers, including 200 Royal Airline employees that have also accused the Inglewood, N.Y.-based company of running a sweatshop. But these latest allegations follow two television stories, in which laboratory analysis of blankets, pillowcases, and headsets from several airlines found the presence of at least two known germs.

"Certainly that occurrence of bacteria is an indication of a problem," Eric Furman, director of UNITE's Department of Occupational Safety and Health, tells WebMD. "The fact that the blankets aren't clean raises questions."

But some experts say UNITE, along with other airline employee-based organizations, might just be creating a problem where one doesn't exist.

Although for esthetic reasons alone it would be nice to have a clean blanket, odds are against the blankets being able to transmit disease, says Russell Rayman, MD, executive director of the Aerospace Medical Association. The association is the world's largest of medical specialists in the fields of aviation, space, and environmental medicine.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing