We know the scientists of the world spend an awful lot of time making our lives better, but the guys and gals in white coats sometimes study topics that aren't all that exciting. Case in point? The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand announced at their annual meeting that owners of newer vehicles are more likely to catch the flu than those with old beaters.

The reason? Older vehicles have dried out, cracked and broken seals that help circulate fresh air through the cabin. Meanwhile, newer vehicles, with their fresh and uncompromised seals, let in less fresh air when air circulation is set to lower levels. As a result, the owners of the newer vehicles are more likely to catch cold or flu from a sick passenger inside the vehicle.

Dr. Scott Bell, Director of Thoracic Medicine at the Prince Charles Hospital, wants drivers to know that "high risk people should be cautious of who they travel with in passenger cars during outbreaks of influenza."

That makes sense, but what if you're in a beat-up old jalopy? We're guessing you shouldn't have sick passengers in old cars, either, but what do we know? Dr. Bell says you're at least less susceptible to illness if you crank the air on high and thumb off the recirculating air button.

[Source: Drive | Image: Flickr KB35 via CC 2.0]

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