How to protect yourself from viruses while travelling

Tips on how to protect yourself from the coronavirus when out.

Updated

people holding handles at public transportation

It’s reasonable to feel anxious while travelling in these difficult times, but there are a number of significant coronavirus prevention measures you can take while out and about.

Coronavirus prevention while travelling

The most important measure to protect yourself from the coronavirus you can take is frequent washing of hands. Our hands are touching surfaces all the time and are therefore prone to disease transmission. The NHS recommends at least 20 seconds of hand washing with soap and warm water (which they say is the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice over). Create a solid routine of hand washing when you get to work and arrive home.

If soap and water aren’t available, then hand sanitiser is the next best option. Antibacterial hand gel kills viruses if it contains a minimum of 60 per cent alcohol. However, be aware that overuse of sanitiser can lead to the skin drying and cracking, which will make you more susceptible to being exposed to the virus, so it’s best always to use soap and water whenever you can.

Another key coronavirus transmission precaution is not touching your face, specifically your hands and mouth. Again, hands are very good at picking up viruses, so don’t risk transferring them to your face where they can then enter the body.

Now would also be a good time to give your car a thorough clean, and to get into the habit of wiping down frequently touched areas like door handles, steering wheels and dashboards. Keep tissues and hand sanitiser handy too, in case you are not able to wash your hands between trips and encourage people to use them as soon as they get in.

Top tips for preventing the spread of the coronavirus on public transport:

  • If possible, try not to use public transport during rush hour.
  • If you are spending time in airports, train or bus stations or other public buildings, do your best to keep your distance from other people and try to avoid touching if handing over tickets or boarding passes.
  • When on a train or plane, you want to create a ‘safe’ space by disinfecting the arm rests, tray tables and any other hard surfaces around you. If you leave your seat, make sure you sanitise your hands when you get back.
  • When coughing or sneezing, try to have tissues on hand and, once used, dispose of them properly. If not, turn your face into your sleeve to catch your sneeze. Don’t use your hands!
  • Wearing a face mask if you are not ill is not recommended by health officials, as there is limited evidence that they are effective outside of clinical settings. A mask may help with coronavirus prevention as it keeps a sick person spreading the virus, but as the government advises anyone with symptoms to self-isolate, if you’re sick you probably shouldn’t be travelling anyway.

Originally published