How to protect yourself from coronavirus while traveling in 2020
Considering canceling your trip this year? Maybe you don’t have to!
What actually is a Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans, according to the World Health Organization.
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The current high-risk countries (on the 4th of March, 2020) are:
- China (without Hong Kong and Macau)
- South Korea – Gyeongbuk, Daegu.
- Italy – Northern Italy, Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto.
For accurate and updated information you can check out all statistics right here.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough.
In some cases, patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people get the virus but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel sick. About 80% of the people recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop a serious illness.
People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention right away!
Sounds serious! How come I can still travel?
COVID-19 is highly contagious but it does not spread as easily as some believe.
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then can catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is or may be sick.
How can I protect myself when I travel?
You can protect yourself and others by following these simple steps:
Read here a bit more information on why those tips can be helpful to protect yourself and others:
- Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses and bacteria that may be on your hands protecting you not only from corona but a variety of other diseases as well.
- When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has it.
- Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus may enter your body and can make you sick.
- Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
- National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility – never show up at your doctor’s office without calling if you think you may be infected. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
What are the chances of me catching COVID-19 when I travel?
The risk depends on where you live and which location you are traveling to. The risk of infection is higher in areas where a number people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Currently, more than 95% of all COVID-19 cases are occurring in China, with the majority of those in Hubei Province.
For people in most other parts of the world, your risk of getting COVID-19 is currently low, however, it’s important to be aware of the situation and do research before you embark onto your adventure. You need to know what the current situation is in your target destination, as well as any other place you might visit along the way and also be prepared for changes that may occur while you are there.
How can I enjoy my travels when I am so worried about the coronavirus?
If you are not in an area where COVID-19 is spreading, or if you are not traveling to any of the high-risk areas or have not been in close contact with someone who has, and is feeling unwell, your chances of getting coronavirus are currently very low.
However, it’s natural that you may feel stressed and worried about the situation. It’s always a good idea to get the facts to help you accurately understand your risks so that you can take reasonable precautions. Your doctor, your national public health authority and your employer are all potential sources of accurate information on COVID-19 and whether it is in your area. It is important to be informed of the situation where you live, and your target travel destination and take appropriate measures to protect yourself.
Once you have all the information and you are well prepared and aware of that, you should be able to ease your worries and enjoy your holiday.
Can I catch the virus from pets?
The answer so far is no. There is no evidence that companion animals or pets such as cats and dogs have been infected or could spread the virus that causes COVID-19.
Are there some things I should definitely NOT be doing on my trip?
Due to panic, people have been discussing taking measures on their own such as:
- Taking traditional herbal remedies
- Wearing multiple masks
- Taking self-medication such as antibiotics
Those measures do not work and should not be used for protection or treatment of COVID-19. On top of that, smoking increases your chances of becoming more seriously ill in case of catching the coronavirus so it should also be avoided.
Reference for information: The World Health Organization.
LuggageHero is in no way encouraging irresponsible travel during the outbreak. This post aims to simply provide information.
Plan your trip
If you decide on traveling in 2020, don’t forget that LuggageHero is there to ease your troubles. Don’t let your bags drag you down from the moment you arrive to the moment you depart. Book your storage in one of our cities across Europe and North America right here!