Coronavirus: How to Protect Yourself While Flying


Do you have flight plans but are scared due to the threat of Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Staying safe while traveling with Coronavirus is currently on everyone's mind, and has seen many canceling their travel plans. While many are more scared of being quarantined in another country with no idea of when they'll get back to their loved ones is one that to make anyone wary. As of now, Italy has placed a lockdown on the entire country with citizens only allowed to travel to work or for family emergencies.

It's still officially cold and flu season, but the Coronavirus pandemic has been spreading like wildfire, with thousands of confirmed cases worldwide. Madison and I currently have European Spring Break travel plans, and we have been keeping track of the numbers for the country that we will be visiting via the European CDC's website. So how can you stay safe, especially if you have no intention of canceling your travel plans? Here are five essential tips to stay safe while traveling by plane.



PLAN AHEAD
Airplanes are the perfect incubator for germs and viruses. They are occupied every day by hundreds of people trying to get to their destination quickly. While airlines claim to sanitize planes after each flight, you can never be too safe (and I have personally encountered used tissues in seatback pockets after boarding).

Consider stocking up on hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes. If you can't find any in stores, you may want to consider making your own sanitizer. Wipe down your seats, seatbelt buckle, armrests, tray table, seat pocket, headrest, window area (if near the window), and everywhere that your hands/body may touch, including the overhead vent nozzle for the air conditioner before adjusting. Always use hand sanitizer after using the overhead bins, inflight entertainment screens, and remotes, magazines, emergency info cards, etc.


PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE
Stay aware and practice good hygiene always. Besides wiping everything down that you can think of, cover your coughs and sneezes and wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds minimum. Refrain from touching your face, mouth, eyes, and wear a face mask if you can.

Although you may feel comfortable with your shoes off on long flights, never remove your shoes and socks and properly dispose of all food items, napkins, tissues and keep your hands out of those seatback pockets.

START WITH A GOOD DEFENSE
The Coronavirus spreads from contact with an infected surface or object and from person to person. Consider getting your vaccinations updated if needed, including the flu vaccine. If traveling to a country where vaccination is required, be sure to plan and make an appointment to receive it from your primary care provider.

Strengthen your immune system by eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet, take a multi-vitamin that aids in immune system support, and get at least seven to nine hours of sleep at night. A strong immune system helps fight off infections and the severity of symptoms if you do get sick.


STAY HYDRATED
Staying hydrated is vital to your wellbeing. Dehydration is often a problem for passengers as the humidity in cabins is generally under 20% due to the high flying altitudes of the aircraft. That low humidity can dry out your skin, nose, and eyes, inviting in germs you want to keep out. Take along a refillable water bottle and fill it up at the airport. If you'd rather not fill up at a fountain, purchase a large-sized bottle of water (the biggest you can find) and continually drink while flying to stay hydrated. You may also request water from the flight attendant instead of soda or coffee, which can dry you out. A bonus of staying hydrated is the benefit of not being enormously jetlagged once your plane lands.


DO NOT TRAVEL WHILE SICK
You're a lot more vulnerable to contracting the Coronavirus if you are ill, so if you're sick, consider canceling your trip and remain at home. Traveling while sick, especially if you're running a fever, you run the risk of infecting others or even worse, being hospitalized in an unfamiliar country where your insurance may not cover your stay.


Pay attention to our tips and don't let the current Coronavirus pandemic make you cancel all your travel plans and ruin your love of travel.