Traveling during coronavirus is not recommended by the CDC, especially in the badly affected states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. That being said, travel is unavoidable for some people, such as essential workers. So what are some ways to make sure you stay safe?
The CDC recommends the use of face masks or protective face coverings. “In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC recommends that everyone wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth when in the community setting, including during travel if they must travel,” says the CDC website.
This cloth covering is not meant to protect you, but to protect others, which is especially important in the case of COVID-19 carriers who show no symptoms. This recommendation is meant as an additional public health measure along with social distancing, washing hands frequently, and so forth.
Medical masks and N-95 respirators are still meant for healthcare workers and first responders, not for casual everyday use by normal people.
Keep hands clean and don’t touch your face
Sanitize your space, for example, if you are travelling on a plane. A disinfectant on a hard surface will kill the virus.
However, viral particles must travel via mucus or saliva and enter through eyes, nose, or mouth. Touching your face after touching a surface where there are cough or sneeze droplets can lead to the virus being passed on, so the line of first defense is to always wash your hands. Most people touch their face far more often than they realize, so keeping hands clean using proper hand hygiene is paramount.
Pick a window seat
According to a study from Emory University, during flu season, the safest place to sit is by the window. People sitting in those seats had fewer contacts with potentially sick people.
Disinfect hard surfaces
Like in Naomi Campbell’s viral video about cleaning her personal space on an airplane, disinfecting hard surfaces is totally doable on an airplane.
Once you’re at your seat and your hands are clean, you can use disinfecting wipes to clean hard surfaces such as the seatbelt buckle, the head rest, the arm rest, the remote, the screen, the seat back pocket, and the tray table. If the seat is leather or pleather, wipe that down too, but skip it if the seat is upholstered, as that will simply lead to a wet seat and the spreading of germs.
When using a touch-screen television, keep a piece of paper towel between your finger and the screen. When eating, use a paper towel on the tray table so your items don’t come into contact with its surface. Finally, in the bathroom, use paper towels to turn off the faucet and close the door, then throw them out on your way out.
However, don’t let a false sense of confidence take root. The virus is not going to leap off of the seat tray and into your mouth. It is far more likely that you will touch something dirty and then touch your face, which is why proper hand hygiene is so important. The 10 dirtiest places on your body are your fingers.
We hope these simple and commonsense tips help you feel more of a sense of control if you must travel. But of course, the safest thing to do is not to travel at all, especially not with someone who is sick. Social distancing rules are meant to protect yourself and others, so do your best to do your part and stay at home if at all possible.