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Traveling Soon? Here Are 6 Ways To Protect Yourself From COVID-19 While On A Plane
  • Social distancing is one of health experts’ recommendations to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 — especially now that confirmed cases of the virus in the Philippines and abroad are constantly increasing — but if you’re traveling by plane soon, that can be easier said than done. If you’re getting on a plane soon, here are some ways to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19.

    6 tips to protect yourself from COVID-19 during a flight

    1. Understand the risks of traveling.

    Perry Flint, a spokesman for the International Air Transport Association, tells Afar that the risk of catching any illness on a plane is low. “Of course, there’s a chance of catching something any place people congregate, but less so on a plane, because the air is filtered and refreshed constantly, with systems similar to what you’d find in a hospital operating room.”

    Still, it can help to be aware of the risks you might face when traveling. The Washington Post advises checking the status of the COVID-19 outbreak in your destination, especially if you’re flying to an area where there are confirmed cases of the virus. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website for that information. You can also check the advisories released by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) regarding travel bans to other countries.

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    2. Get vaccinated.

    While there is still no vaccine against COVID-19, experts say the flu and pneumonia vaccines could help lessen your risk of infection. In a previous SmartParenting.com.ph article, Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvana, director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the National Institute of Health, says, “Magpabakuna kayo because it might save your life. Kahit wala pa tayong nCoV na vaccine, meron naman tayong vaccine sa trangkaso at sa iba’t ibang bagay, sa pneumonia.”


    3. Choose a window seat.

    National Geographic reports that according to a study by a group called the “FlyHealthy Research Team,” choosing a window seat and staying there throughout your flight might lower your risk of coming into contact with a co-passenger who might be sick — unlike aisle seats, which provide more access to potentially-sick individuals, says The Washington Post.

    4. Wash your hands.

    Washing your hands is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of COVID-19 infection. The CDC notes, “Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.” Click here to learn how to wash your hands properly.

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    5. Wipe down all high-touch surfaces.

    The practice of wiping down communal surfaces is now being recommended by health experts, The Washington Post reports. The CDC says that, according to current evidence, the virus that causes COVID-19 “may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials,” so don’t forget to wipe down surfaces like the seat cover, tray table, armrest, seatback pocket, and window shade.

    Experts also say the bathroom, which is among the most frequented areas in a plane, should be avoided as much as possible. Business Insider notes that the possibility of coming into contact with harmful pathogens in an airplane lavatory is high since virtually every part of it is touched by multiple people during every flight. If you do use the bathroom, make sure to wash your hands before exiting and apply hand sanitizer when you return to your seat.

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    6. Minimize contact with others…

    …especially those who show possible symptoms of COVID-19. Bernard Camins, M.D., medical director for infection prevention at the Mount Sinai Health System in the U.S., tells Business Insider, “Stay away from people who are coughing or exhibiting any other signs of a respiratory illness.” He also advises staying at least six feet away from other passengers, if possible.

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