10 tips on not getting infected with Chinese coronavirus or flu on a plane
Winter travel is quite dangerous due to the season of colds, flu and the constant threat of weather problems. But this year, travelers have added another cause for concern - an outbreak of coronavirus in China, writes USA Today.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said January 24 that they would take a non-standard approach to screening passengers arriving in the United States from Wuhan, China.
CDC specialists said that passengers will be checked for new 2019 or 2019-nCoV coronavirus infections in New York, at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Los Angeles Airport and San Francisco International Airport. Although the CDC also said it rated the risk to the American public as "low."
On the subject: What is dangerous virus from China and how to protect yourself
This does not mean that travelers should not take extra precautions so as not to become infected on the plane.
10 tips on how not to get infected with Chinese coronavirus in an airplane:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (the CDC says this is the most important infection control measure).
- Wear an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content is recommended by the CDC) in case there is no water nearby.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Keep the ventilation openings above the seat open for better ventilation. Regular airline user and travel analyst Henry Harteveldt from AtmosphereResearch in San Francisco says that he keeps the ventilation open every time he flies so that it constantly updates the air around him.
- Wipe the armrests and the table for trays with sanitary napkins and use napkins when opening the door to the toilet.
- Wear a gauze bandage if you are sitting next to someone coughing or sneezing. Harteveldt does not use it, but says that it has become a common attribute for many passengers since the SARS epidemic in 2003. CDC experts recommend that air crews use a dressing when in contact with sick passengers with respiratory symptoms.
- Choose a place by the window and do not change. This was one of the recommendations of the study on the spread of respiratory viruses on airplanes, published in March 2018.
- Ask the flight attendant if it is possible to swap places to move away from a sick passenger. In the same March study, it was found that passengers within two places from the patient can become infected with a probability of 80%.
- See the Travelers Health section of the CDC website for travel tips and advice around the world. You can filter them by destination and type of travel: from a family with children to a person with a chronic illness.
- Do a favor to your fellow travelers and do not fly when you are really sick. The CDC recommends travelers stay at home for at least 24 hours after the temperature drops. But what about these unpleasant costs of airline ticket change fees (at least $ 200), you say? There are two possible ways to solve them: buy travel insurance when booking a ticket (you will not be covered by insurance if you get it after you get sick); or kindly explain your situation to the representative of the airline customer support service (enclosing a certificate from your doctor). Southwest Airlines is the only major airline that does not charge a ticket change fee. Travelers get a loan that can be used for future flights.
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