By VIANCA GAMBOA
The virus scare brought about a worldwide directive for travel restrictions, and being neighbors to the epicenter of the virus and Asian countries where the virus prevails, the scare takes a toll on our vacation and business plans, and even simple airline health concerns mount into sheer panic among travelers.
But if you’re flying in this time of the outbreak, here’s something to lighten your load—the chance of getting infected on board a plane is slim. In Bloomberg’s interview with David Powell, a physician and medical adviser to the International Air Transport Association, he said the viral risk that rests on an aircraft doesn’t come from its 99.97 percent cleaner supplied air, but from physical contact with other people. This fact renders the use of face mask a little ineffective, unless you’re the one infected. In a recent update, however, Chinese officials confirm that the novel coronavirus is an airborne disease and transmits the way usual respiratory illnesses do, but, as a matter of fact, mask also allows the virus to be transmitted around it and acts as carriers.
Here are some of preventive measures you can do instead to avoid the virus (and cause panic) when flying.
- Practice hand hygiene. The general procedure to avoid diseases is by frequently washing your hands, and this is the most effective thing you can do to fight coronavirus, too. Contrary to popular belief, virus is unlikely to stay on non-living dry surfaces like armrests, doors, and seats (you can leave this belief to bacteria because they can survive without a host) and thrives on the living, especially on our hands. Avoid shaking hands and physical contact with another passenger at all times. Even without touching any surface, always wash your hands and dry them out fast because moisture encourages growth of virus and bacteria. It’s also best to use an alcohol-based sanitizer to disinfect your hands.
- Shun rubber gloves too. Anything disposable is biohazard. This includes mask, as aforementioned, gloves, and tissues. Whenever someone routinely uses the same mask or glove for days, it creates the wrong idea that it’s okay to use them instead of being out in the open “unprotected.” Powell said that “masks and gloves do a better job of spreading bugs than stopping them” and people will lay their hands on everything when they use gloves, making way for a faster transmission of the virus.
- If possible, choose the window seat. Passengers’ behaviors may differ during medium- or long-haul flights, but these contacts are relatively short so the probability of getting infected in a flight wherever you are seated is low. As we all know, however, close encounters with an infected person within a meter may allow transmission. People move around the cabin for the whole duration of the flight, whether to go to the lavatory or check the overhead cabin. Those from the aisle seat are mostly susceptible to these actions, so, while it is not strictly advisable, it’s technically suitable to choose a seat that is literally in fewer contacts with other passengers.
Credit belongs to : Manila Bulletin