In January 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency. Since then, coronavirus has found its way into several countries across the globe and has infected over 100,000 people in all.
If you’re still planning to travel despite the widespread coronavirus outbreak, there are several precautions that you need to consider taking before you step foot into your local airport or train station.
Take a look at these tips for preventing coronavirus while you’re traveling in another country.
Avoid Locations of Known Outbreaks
You’ve probably had this trip planned for months, but it might be too risky to travel to that country or city right now.
If your intended location has a current outbreak, you are putting yourself at a greater risk of getting the coronavirus. You need to think about whether the risk is worth it.
Even if the city you’re traveling to doesn’t have a current outbreak, a nearby city that does have an outbreak is a cause of concern. If locals to the area tend to travel between these two cities and did so before the known outbreak, there could be cases of coronavirus in the city you’re traveling to.
Your best bet would be to reschedule your trip after the threat of coronavirus disappears.
Know the Signs and Symptoms
It’s impossible for you to diagnose coronavirus in yourself, but knowing the signs and symptoms can really help out if you think that you or a loved one has been infected by the virus.
Coronavirus is sometimes mistaken for the cold or flu based on symptoms alone.
If you suddenly become sick while traveling, here are the symptoms of coronavirus that you should be looking out for.
- Trouble breathing and shortness of breath
By recognizing the symptoms, you can get medical attention sooner and prevent the virus from spreading and getting worse.
You can also use this list to monitor your surroundings. If you notice that a person near you at a restaurant or on a plane is wheezing and appears to have a fever, you’ll at least know that you may have been exposed to the virus.
Maintain Personal Space
This is hard to do while traveling, but it’s one of the only ways to guarantee that you don’t come in contact with an infected person.
Walking through an airport, sitting on a plane, or eating at a restaurant requires you to be surrounded by a ton of people. But nothing says you have to get too close to them.
Do your best to avoid touching strangers, cover your face with the inside of your elbow if those around you are coughing or sneezing, and try to avoid areas where you’re stuck in tight quarters.
Nothing says that you have to hide out in your hotel room for the whole trip, but you should be trying to keep your distance from strangers as much as possible.
Depending on where you’re traveling and how much room there is for personal space, it might also be a good idea to buy a face mask. Depending on the type of mask, these can keep you from breathing in the virus particles.
Practice Good Hygiene
Just like the cold and flu, having good hygiene is the #1 way to avoid getting the coronavirus.
For the most part, the virus spreads through airborne particles after an infected person coughs or sneezes. If you come into contact with these particles, the virus is more likely to enter your body.
Good hygiene requires washing your hands and not touching your face if you can avoid it. That’s especially the case when you’re touching things in crowded public places like airports and train stations.
You have to think about how many people have touched the items you’re touching and the possibility that they have the coronavirus.
Invest in an Air Purifier
Hotel rooms can be just as bad as airports when it comes to air quality and the spread of diseases. Opening a window, if possible, is usually the best choice, but in heavily polluted areas that can also make the situation worse.
Will an air purifier solve the problem? There are many conflicting reports about the effectiveness of purifiers, and the main dispute seems to be about the size of the Corona virus (0.125 micron) versus the size that HEPA filters can trap (0.3 micron). Just looking at the numbers would make you believe it’s ineffective, but since particles are trapped using a method called diffusion, they also trap most particles that are smaller.
The discussion will probably go on for a while, but until there’s a convincing report that proves there’s no use, packing a purifier on your next trip abroad is still a wise choice. Some of them are small enough to transport and will at the very least help keep the air in your hotel room clean and free of other harmful bacteria and debris.
Know Who to Call (Local Resources)
Let’s say you’re in a foreign country and you’ve come down with symptoms that are common in coronavirus.
Most people would assume that they should immediately go to the hospital or clinic. Yet, if you do end up having the coronavirus, going to the hospital or clinic might expose others to the virus without you even planning to.
At this point in the outbreak, most cities and countries have a phone number that you should call if you believe that you have the coronavirus. They’ll tell you what you should do.
Traveling as the coronavirus is still spreading is extremely risky. You need to consider whether or not this trip is worth the risk. If you don’t actually have to go right now, you should think about rescheduling the trip to another time.
If you absolutely have to travel during the outbreak, you should make sure that you’re taking every necessary precaution to protect yourself and those you care about.