How To Protect Yourself From The Coronavirus While Traveling
With the subject dominating the news lately, you might be wondering how to stay safe from the Coronavirus while traveling.
There have been headlines of cruises quarantined due to outbreaks, flights being canceled, people being held at airports, and very strict lockdowns in China — the country in which the Novel Coronavirus originated. With all of this going on, it’s easy to question how big of a concern the Coronavirus is in your travels, and how to keep yourself safe.
As the world works to keep the virus contained, it’s important to shed any misinformation or hysteria regarding the matter. So, to help keep you as healthy and safe as possible on your upcoming travels, we’ve decided to do the research and give you the best information out there regarding the Coronavirus.
These important facts and tips will give you information on how to stay safe from the Coronavirus while traveling!
How To Stay Safe From The Coronavirus While Traveling
What is the Novel Coronavirus?
First off, let’s dive into what the Coronavirus actually is.
Coronaviruses are a branch of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and even SARS. The strain of Coronavirus that was recently found in Wuhan, China, the Novel Coronavirus, is a strain that has never been previously found in humans.
Signs of coronavirus infection include fever, coughing, breathing issues, chills, and runny noses. In some cases, and this is why there’s been so much about it in the news lately, the Novel Coronavirus can cause pneumonia, kidney failure, and even death.
How Does the Coronavirus Spread?
Much like the flu or the common cold, the Novel Coronavirus is believed to be spread through respiratory droplets. This means that coughing, sneezing, and kissing can potentially spread the virus.
While it’s definitely important to protect yourself against the virus, if you’re traveling and you find yourself starting to cough, sneeze, or feel ill, then it’s important to have good respiratory hygiene and to see a doctor immediately (but call ahead!)
Make sure to dispose of tissues in lidded trashcans, don’t cough or sneeze into your hands, and wash your hands and use hand sanitizer as much as possible.
What are the Odds of Contracting Novel Coronavirus?
The Coronavirus is causing a media frenzy as it has never before been found in humans and thus there is no current vaccine or tried-and-true treatment. .
Travel to China while the Coronavirus is still spreading is not advised, nor is coming in contact with someone who has recently visited China, or who has specifically been in a location with confirmed Coronavirus.
At the same time, most countries have quarantine and testing systems put in place for those at risk of having contracted the virus, so they are doing their best to detect it as early as possible.
Additionally, people with compromised immune systems, infants, and older people are especially at risk if they contract the Coronavirus, and therefore should take extra precautions.
Read more: 3 Simple Ways to Avoid Getting Sick While Traveling
7 Tips to Protect Yourself Against the Coronavirus
Wash Your Hands Regularly
Even if your hands aren’t physically dirty, it’s important to wash them regularly with both soap and water. Also, keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on you at all times, and use it after touching anything in public.
Avoid Touching Your Face
Because your hands will generally be the first things to come in contact with surfaces containing the Coronavirus, try your best to keep them away from your eyes, nose, and mouth while traveling.
This is especially a great idea while flying or when in a public place with a lot of other people around.
Use a Face Mask
If you’re sick, wear a mask, and if you’re not sick, wear a mask.
Of course, you don’t have to don a mask during the entirety of your travels (especially if you’re not sick), but while you’re in congested places such as airports, airplanes, and public squares, this is a very good idea.
However, in choosing the best travel face mask, it’s important to note that they’re not all created equal. When choosing a mask, you’ll see that they’re denoted with both a letter and a number. The letter shows how resistant the mask is to oil (this is pretty much only for industrial settings), and the number shows how many airborne particles the mask will remove.
For example, N95 masks will remove 95% of airborne particles, and N100 masks will remove 100% of airborne particles.
That said, just because the number is higher doesn’t mean the mask is better. An N100 mask is much denser than an N95 mask, and you’ll have a tougher time breathing (not to mention create more precipitation) the higher the number.
For this reason, N95 masks are recommended, however, at this time, these masks are in such high demand that there is a shortage and are not recommended unless you work in a health care setting where the virus is a threat.
Wipe Down Your Seats & Tray Tables
Something that’s a good idea every time you travel, be sure to bring some disinfecting wet wipes with you onto public transportation (including planes, buses, and trains), and wipe down your seat, seatbelt, tray table, armrest, and anything else that you might come into contact with.
Seats and tray tables rarely get cleaned, so this is a great line of defense against the Coronavirus and any other viruses.
Make Sure You Have Travel Health Insurance
No matter where you’re headed in the world, a health insurance policy could potentially come in very handy; especially during times of virus outbreaks.
A good travel health insurance policy will cover you for hospital visits, doctor’s appointments, and even medical evacuation should you have to leave the country.
Research Your Destination
As more news about the Coronavirus is made available, it’s becoming easier to do your research on your destination and assess the risk level.
Do your research on the precise areas that the Coronavirus has been found and plan your travels away from those areas. Diverting your travel plans, even just as a precaution, could end up saving you from major health worries and potentially spreading the virus.
Go To the Doctor if You Start to Show Symptoms
If you’re headed to a location where the Coronavirus has been found, then make sure you go to a doctor if you start showing any symptoms of the illness. However, in order to keep the staff and other patients as safe as possible, make sure you call ahead to the doctor so they know you’re coming and are prepared to test and treat you.
Further, if you start showing symptoms of any illness, whether it’s just the common cold or something more serious, it’s best to delay your travels. If you have travel insurance, then you should be covered if you have to change your travel dates, and if you’re on the road, then it’s best to just stay in your hotel and try not to spread the illness (once you get checked and know that it’s not the Novel Coronavirus, that is).
For more information about the Coronavirus, visit the CDC’s website and Worldometer.
What to Pack to Protect Yourself Against the Coronavirus
Cleansing Items: In order to keep yourself and your surroundings clean, it’s recommended to carry soap, hand sanitizer, tissues, and disinfecting wipes with you on your travels.
Face Mask: As mentioned above, an N95 face respirator is great for when you’re in airports, airplanes, crowded areas, and other modes of transportation.
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Love your blog but it saddens me to see the recommendation on the N95 masks during this time. Hospitals and frontline workers are desperate for these self protective devices; there are cases when they’re having to share with one another. Please don’t waste them for personal travel. I LOVE to travel, but perhaps if it can’t be don’t safely without the need for a mask, perhaps it’s just not the right time to do so.
Hi Marcia. This post was written before the shortage and I forgot to change that info. Thanks for the reminder! I don’t think many people are traveling right now anyway, thankfully!
Glad to hear, thanks Christy