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A germophobe’s guide to flying in the age of coronavirus


Considered relatively normal on ground, I transform into Full Germophobe on planes. Yep, I’m the one wiping down the surfaces of pretty much anything I touch and proudly. Because while I may get some odd stares from others, I’d really rather not waste my holiday being sick. 

 

So if you’d prefer to be on the beach than staring down a questionably clean toilet bowl, do as I do:

 

WASH THOSE HANDS

When my daughter washes her hands she sings a little song to the tune of Frère Jacques (thanks to the local library for this one): 

Tops and bottoms, tops and bottoms

In between, in between

Scrub them all around, scrub them all around

Now they’re clean, nice and clean

 

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims washing your hands is the single most important infection control measure, and it lists it first among the guidelines for preventing the spread of disease on commercial aircraft. 

 

SANITISE THOSE HANDS

Sometimes water isn't readily accessible, but hand sanitiser is easily portable. Look for ones that are at least 60% alcohol. 

 

CLEAN THOSE SURFACES

We live a long way from pretty much anywhere so chances are you’ll be travelling for a long time with people whose hygiene practices may be somewhat questionable (and apparently men cannot hit the target in the lavatory no matter how big the bowl). So wipe down what you’re likely to touch at your seat and in the loo with disinfectant wipes (good to use in your hotel and at various spots on your travels). 

 

CHOOSE YOUR SEAT WISELY

When sick people walk down the aisle of a plane, they touch the aisle seats. Go the window seat. And don’t be afraid to ask to move if someone is hacking and sneezing (a study published in March 2018 found that passengers within two seats or a row of a passenger with a respiratory illness have an 80% or greater possibility of getting sick, CNN reported).

 

According to Smartraveller, if you are considering travelling to any destination with detected cases of the novel coronavirus try and avoid all- high-risk areas such as farms, live animal markets, and areas where animals are slaughtered, including fish and seafood and surfaces with animal droppings or secretions on them. If you do come into contact with one of them:

Tops and bottoms, tops and bottoms

In between, in between

Scrub them all around, scrub them all around

Now they’re clean, nice and clean

 

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Published: 22 January 2020

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