How to protect yourself from viruses while travelling

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

Updated

People on crowded train

It’s understandable to feel anxious while traveling, especially now that the coronavirus has spread rapidly through South Africa – With hundreds of people being affected directly by the virus and the whole country being impacted in one way or another.

So if for whatever reason you are going to be traveling, there are several significant coronavirus prevention measures you can take while you are out and about.

Preventing Coronavirus while traveling

Washing your hands frequently with soap is an effective way to practice hand hygiene and the most critical way you can protect yourself and your family from the coronavirus. Our hands are always touching surfaces and are, therefore, prone to disease transmission. President Cyril Ramaphosa released a statement in which he urged the public to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with hygiene soap and water or an effective hand sanitiser. On top of washing your hands at key times of the day such as before and after meals, when going to the bathroom and if you cough or sneeze. Also, create a solid hand washing routine when you get to work and arrive home and sanitise your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer as often as possible in between washes.

A hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol is the most effective way to kill viruses and remove germs from your hands, apart from soap and water. Keep in mind that overusing sanitiser can cause the skin to dry and crack, which could make you more susceptible to the virus. So to avoid cracked or damaged skin keep hand cream beside you to moisturise hands after cleansing.

As much as it’s a common habit to touch your face, try to avoid doing this at all costs. It’s so easy for your hands to pick up viruses, and if you touch your face, eyes or mouth, you risk the virus entering the body.

Are you heading out to get supplies? Now is also the perfect time to clean your car thoroughly, and make it a habit of wiping down frequently touched areas like steering wheels, door handles, and dashboards. Keep a hand sanitiser and tissues within reach too, in case you are not able to wash your hands between trips and encourage people to use them as soon as they enter your car.

As a result of essential services that will continue to run, a few select individuals will continue to use public transport. So for those who are affected here are a few safety tips.

  • If you must use a bus station, taxi or other public buildings, do your best to keep your distance from others and try to avoid touching others if you are handing over receipts, money or bus tags.
  • If you sneeze or cough, keep a tissue on hand and, once used, dispose of them properly. If you do not have a tissue, turn your face into your sleeve to catch your sneeze. Never use your hands!
  • Health officials recommend that you avoid wearing a face mask if you are not sick, as there is limited evidence that they are useful outside of clinical settings. A face mask may be effective against coronavirus prevention as it keeps a sick person spreading the virus, but as the president has advised anyone with and without symptoms must self-isolate and practice social distancing. If you’re sick, you probably shouldn’t be travelling anyway.
  • Originally published