Globalization and innovation have made the world a much smaller place, and made travel far easier than it’s ever been since mankind invented the wheel. But a pesky virus called COVID-19 has been such things as train rides and international flights a bit complicated lately. What’s a bold traveler to do? The following offers important insights and travel recommendations that can help. And as you will appreciate, the best prevention measures are those that are neither overzealous or apathetic in nature.
What We Know About COVID-19 So Far
There are several types of coronavirus, which are among some viruses known to cause the common cold. But COVID-19 has been recognized as being more contagious and more potent in its effects. Despite this, however, the virus remains quite delicate and can be easily destroyed with simple disinfectants. And it appears that the spread of the infection occurs primarily through respiratory droplets. This means that the spread of COVID-19 occurs most commonly via coughing, sneezing, laughing, talking, and breathing. And likewise, touching surfaces that have been exposed to these respiratory droplets also plays a role.
Understanding this, coronavirus protection involves reducing exposure to these risks. If someone has the infection, several factors influence whether or not you might contract the illness. How close you are to them, how long you are near them, and how frequently you touch your own face matters. But knowing who has and doesn’t have the coronavirus infection is difficult. Many have mild symptoms while others have none. And the incubation period before developing the virus can be as long as two weeks. Because of this, coronavirus protection is a better approach than trying to determine who does and doesn’t have the illness.
Coronavirus Protections That Make Sense
In terms of travel recommendations, there are some steps that can be taken in reducing your risk for coronavirus infection. However, there are also some that offer little coronavirus protection and are not worth the effort. The following therefore offers some best practices and travel recommendations that you may want to consider.
- Travel Recommendation #1 – Washing Hands Matters
By far, washing your hands often with soap and water is the most effective step you can take for coronavirus protection. Washing for at least 20 seconds, or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, represent best practices. This has been shown to reduce the spread of any respiratory illness by 16% if not more. Given that our hands and fingers commonly contact many surfaces as well as our faces, washing should be a priority. Though not foolproof in nature, it is among the best coronavirus protection strategies.
- Travel Recommendation #2 – Redirecting Air Vents
Many believe that the higher risk of infections when traveling on airplanes result from poor ventilation systems. However, airlines use advanced HEPA air filter systems that remove 99% of infectious particles from the air. The problem is that the actual vents where the air emerges are frequently touched by other passengers. Thus, the germs on their hands may potentially spread after they have handled the vent itself. With this understood, directing vents toward your feet and legs and away from your face is recommended.
- Travel Recommendation #3 – Keep a Safe Distance
Spread of most viruses that travel by respiratory droplets occur when we are in close contact to people with an infection. Therefore, most experts recommend staying at least 3 feet away from someone as a coronavirus protection method. In fact, the CDC suggests staying at least 6 feet away from individuals actively coughing, sneezing, etc. Of course, this may be impossible if seated on an airplane next to someone who is ill. But whenever possible, keeping a safe distance from others should be considered.
- Travel Recommendation #4 – Avoid Touching Surfaces Unnecessarily
Any viral particle cannot survive on its own, and this is true for COVID-19 as well. But the virus can persist on surfaces when transmitted on mucus or saliva droplets. In fact, the virus particles can survive up to 9 days on a surface in some instances. Therefore, never eat food off airplane tray tops, and consider opening doors with paper towels. While disinfecting all surfaces is not feasible, avoiding contact with public surfaces is encouraged as a coronavirus protection technique.
- Travel Recommendation #5 – Invest in a Healthy Immune System
One of the best forms of coronavirus protection involves taking good care of yourself. Many of the deaths related to the virus have occurred among individuals with weak immune systems. Therefore, getting adequate sleep, eating healthy, exercising, and managing stress can all be proactive strategies. When traveling, plan ahead for fitness activities to help boost your immunity. This may not prevent you from getting ill, but it will help you fight off any infection that occurs.
Be Practical…Not Overreactive
It’s easy to get emotionally upset when hearing about the rapid rise in coronavirus infections occurring around the globe. And if you are planning a trip, it is also tempting to do anything and everything possible to prevent an infection. But in some instances, going to such an extreme is unnecessary and is likely to only heighten your anxiety. This is true for most commonly used face masks, which offer little coronavirus protection. With this in mind, the above travel recommendations offer you the best chance to avoid becoming ill with COVID-19. Be passionate in your efforts, but not too passionate. By taking the practical approach, you’ll be more likely to stay healthy and unstressed wherever your travels take you.