How to Protect Yourself from Coronavirus When Traveling According to Experts
The ongoing coronavirus doesn’t show any signs of going in remission and cases are cropping up all over the world. In such a scenario, how does one protect themselves form the coronavirus while travelling. There are several people, businessmen, holiday goers, honeymooners, travelers, and students who need to travel by air, road or train both domestic and internationally. How to protect yourself from coronavirus while travelling is one of the most common and widely searched question on the net today. We compiled answers from various areas of the internet who cited experts and here’s the best way to protect from the coronavirus while travelling.
1. How does coronavirus spread?
The coronavirus also known as covid19 is still being assessed on how it spreads, but in most cases, similar viruses spread from person to person via cough and sneezing. If an infected person coughs and sneezes, mucus and saliva droplets are released into the air and can be picked up by people in the vicinity. If someone touches their face, eyes, ears or nose, they could get infected. Hospital guidelines define exposure distance as 6 feet within a person who is infected and who sneezes 10 minutes and longer. But here’s how you can avoid and prevent it.
2. Minimize your exposure
According to experts the most effective way to protect yourself from coronavirus while travelling is to minimize the exposure. This can only be achieved by basic hygiene practices of which the most important is washing your hands with soap for 30 seconds. Hand sanitizers with 70% ethanol can also help you minimize exposure to the virus. Avoid touching your mouth, nose, ears and eyes with unwashed hands. Disinfect surfaces that you come in contact with.
Maintain at least 3 to 6 feet distance from a person whom you suspect to be infected and who has been sneezing or coughing for more than ten minutes. If you cough, make sure you cough into your elbow. Remember there is no vaccine yet or a cure for coronavirus. There are only symptoms relieving medications to manage the disease. Thus the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the only way to prevent infection is to avoid or minimize exposure.
4. Be aware of adoptive measures by various countries
With the ongoing virus raging across the globe, there is a very valid fear of travelling. However, Dr Carmen Dolea of the head of the International Health Regulations Secretariat at WHO says “You should not change your travel plans if you had planned to travel during this time. You should be aware of what [measures] countries have put in place in terms of restrictions and plan your trips accordingly
5. Traveling in airplanes what is the risk?
As per the CDC travel guidelines, it says that most viruses and germs cannot spread easily on planes because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes. However, you should try to avoid contact with any infected passengers and wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20-30 seconds or use hand sanitizers with 60-95% alcohol.
6. What others say about travelling in airplanes
Travelling in airplanes may make anyone feel vulnerable to the ongoing coronavirus. What if someone next to you is infected? Dr Hanh Lea of Healthline says the best way to ensure your safety is to clean the area as much as possible. When traveling make sure you have antibacterial wipes with you with an alcohol rate of 60%. Avoid placing your stuff in the backseat pocket because that is an area prone to germs.
7. Keep your seat well ventilated
Dr lea says to keep your seat ventilated with the help of the air vents directly above you. It is a common recommendation that if you turn on the air vent and position it so that it forms a force field in front of your head, then the virus and bacteria can get blown away. While it is not 100% proof, it does help to a great extent.
8. Layovers at airports
In destinations with level 3 travel notices, the CDC recommends avoid non-essential travel. However, is a layover being necessary, then travelers should stay in the airport.
9. How effective is wearing a mask while traveling?
When it concerns how to protect yourself from coronavirus when travelling, masks help prevent the spread of the virus thus they are good for those who already are infected and it wont exactly protect you from catching the virus. Moreover, commercially manufactured face masks do not have a proper filtration process. Dr Dolea says that “For people that are not sick, the masks are not very effective. It’s also important to use the mask properly and to not touch the exterior of the mask, even if you are not sick.”
“If you do wear a mask, you should be aware of how to wear it…so that you don’t get infected by touching the mask unnecessarily. What we also know is that if you are asked to self-quarantine because you showed symptoms after passing through immigration at the airport, you must contact your local emergency clinic and at that facility you must wear a mask to prevent infecting other people in case you are infected,” she adds.
10. More on face masks
Dr Hanh Lea says that when people wear masks, it is always worn to loose an “they think they’ve got it on well and they’re protecting themselves, but there’s a lot of hollow space and open ventilation on the sides. And so, it really is effectively doing nothing. The other mistake that people make is they wear the same one all the time, for long periods of time. So whatever contamination is on the mask, it’s just retained with them, and they don’t throw it away. These face masks are supposed to be single-use face masks. You’re not supposed to just carry them forever, but a lot of folks do that, and then they touch them and they touch other surfaces, and they put them back on their face, thereby rendering the whole mask kind of pointless.”
11. Avoid people who are sick
According to the CDC, you should avoid people who are sick. If you are sick as well, you should stay home, and cover your mouth or nose when you cough or sneeze and dispose of the tissue in a trash bin. Disinfect all surfaces at home with a good cleaning spray.
12. If you fall sick
If you recently travelled to a country that has a COVID 19 outbreak, and experience symptoms like fever, cough, cold and difficulty breathing within 14 days of your departure, then do the following
- Consult a doctor
- Avoid contact with family members
- Don’t travel on public transport
- Cover your mouth with a tissue or cough and sneeze into your sleeve not your hands
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20-30 seconds
- Seek medical advice immediately especially if you have low immunity issues, or any medical condition, lung or heart issues.
Follow these tips on how to protect yourself from coronavirus while traveling and you should be fine.