What are the best tips for staying safe while flying right now?
“The most important things people can do are definitely the basic protections: making sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer,” said Rachel Vreeman, director of the Arnhold Institute for Global Health. “Trying to avoid people who are coughing and sneezing, and if you’re coughing and sneezing, not only covering your mouth and nose yourself but of course seeking medical attention.”
Just how helpful is hand sanitizer, really?
Hand sanitizer has its place. It’s not as effective in preventing the spread of the virus as a good, vigorous washing with soap, but for the times when soap and water are not an option -- like when you’re rushing through security, or seated on a plane -- it’s absolutely better than nothing.
“If you’re on the move, if you’re traveling in a place where a sink isn’t readily available, it’s a great thing to use between contacts,” Vreeman said. “That being said, you do need to be cautious about completely drying out your skin as well. If you’re using it to a degree that you’re starting to get breaks in your skin, you need to be careful because that too can actually let infections get into your body.”
What about face masks?
Vreeman says face masks do not play nearly as important a role in all this as soap and water (and hand sanitizer), and it’s possible that the standard designs aren’t especially effective against the virus. But they still could be useful in helping prevent you from passing the virus to someone else if you yourself become affected. So if you feel sick and have access to a mask, by all means utilize it; at the very least, it’s not gonna hurt -- especially if you have to navigate crowded spaces like airports and airplanes.