With the Coronavirus infected count increasing each day across the globe, is traveling overseas a good idea?Depending on the importance of your travel plans, you should be aware of the risks attached to traveling during this season. The Coronavirus is contagious, and it can spread easily among the community in some affected geographic regions.
If you are unable to change your travel plans, here are steps you can take to protect yourself against the Coronavirus.
Coronavirus Prevention: Steps You Should Take
Use Hand Sanitizers or Disinfecting Wipes
These small and functional items are great for combating bacteria and viruses while traveling. Different brands will advertise for different things. It’s important for you to use one that advertises killing viruses and bacteria. While many popular disinfectants claim to kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, the Environmental Protection Agency states that the ability to kill the coronavirus is currently unknown. We know that the coronavirus is highly contagious and although using these items may help temporarily, it is still best to wash your hands when you are able to.
Alcohol Hand Sanitizer
The two types of hand sanitizers easily found in the market are alcohol-based and non-alcohol-based. Non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain Benzalkonium Chloride, which is gentler on the hands as opposed to alcohol-based hand sanitizers. The NHS and Public Health England state that to kill most viruses, hand sanitizers must contain at least 60% of alcohol content. Most alcohol-based hand sanitizers found in stores contain 60% to 95% alcohol content.
The US Environmental Protection Agency suggests that disinfecting wipes can be effective against COVID-19. According to Rudra Channappanavar, an immunologist at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the coronavirus can live on surfaces for 96 hours, at room temperature. Most of us touch our face multiple times in a day without even realizing it. Our hands are often harboring different sorts of germs gathered from touching different surfaces such as our phones or public amenities. Therefore, it is important to clean these surfaces before use to reduce the chances of contracting COVID-19. Areas to clean regularly are areas such as an airplane folding table, public railings, your phone’s screen and so on.
Dry Hands with Disposable Towels
Paper towels are superior to air dryers. When using a hand dryer, most people are not able to completely dry their hands, causing them to leave the restroom with damp hands. Germs that remain on damp hands are likely to spread more quickly to other people or objects, leading to an opportunity for infection. It’s always best to carry a small packet of tissue when traveling. If there no disposable towels in restrooms, you can rest assure that you are less likely to carry with germs.
Should I wear a mask?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends face masks for those under these categories:
- Residing or are traveling to a region currently experiencing an outbreak
- Working as a healthcare worker exposed to the coronavirus
- Experiencing flu-like symptoms
- Have been tested positive for the coronavirus
Unless you are already sick or a healthcare provider, there is no need for you to wear masks in the US. The U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams stated on Fox & Friends, “It’s important for folks to know right now their risk as American citizens remain low… One of the things [the general public] shouldn’t be doing is going out and buying masks. It actually does not help, and it has not been proven to be effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus amongst the general public.”
On Twitter, he brings the topic to light again by stating, “[Masks] are not effective in preventing the general public from catching Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
Other preventive measures are better unless you are within or traveling to the communities listed above. For example, washing hands frequently and avoiding touching your face are likely to be more effective than wearing a face mask.
Review Travel Recommendations
Review travel recommendations posted on CDC’s Travel Health Notices and CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Information page for risk assessment levels. As of March 12, 2020, below categories classified by the CDC and its attached countries:
Level 3 Travel Health Notice —Avoid All Nonessential Travel
- Most of Europe
- South Korea
Level 2 Travel Health Notice —Practice Enhanced Precautions
- Global Outbreak
Level 1 Travel Health Notice —Practice Usual Precautions
We all know the Coronavirus is contagious and that without proper care and precaution, disease transmission is plausible. Here are other steps you can take to protect yourself against the Coronavirus.