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Taking a flight? Here are 9 ways to stay safe from covid-19, according to a doctor

Published on:2 June 2020, 14:13pm IST
Airports can be a hotspot for covid-19 infection. So, follow these air travel tips suggested by an infectious disease specialist to reduce your risk of the infection.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Don’t let air travel during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic be the biggest mistake of your life and follow these tips. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

You must be ecstatic to know that domestic flights are finally up and running in India. Especially, if you have been away from your loved ones during this lockdown, the allowances on air travel must come as a huge relief, right? But have you ever wondered how travelling while covid-19 makes its rampant run can be dangerous for you? 

We don’t want to sabotage your happiness, but the truth is that taking a flight right now does come with the risk of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

If you have been following the news lately, then you must have heard of the instance where an Air India flight to Moscow was asked to return as the pilot was covid-19 positive. Not just that, two crew members, from the same carrier, who were coming to India from Canada were also found to be positive.

The situation is no different in domestic flights where travelers from Chennai and other parts of the country have been found to be SARS-CoV-2 positive.

coronavirus prevention
To avoid coronavirus on flights, wash your hands frequently. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Keeping aside the blame game of why they were allowed to travel in the first place, the fact remains that you must avoid taking a flight right now. But if you must, here’s help.

Dr Vikrant Shah, consulting physician, intensivist, and infectious-disease specialist at Zen Hospital, Mumbai, says: “I must say that travelling during this time is not advisable because it is not 100% fool-proof. You are not sure about the people you are travelling with which makes it all the more dangerous. If someone is an asymptomatic carrier then you won’t be able to judge that as well.”

Here he suggests the nine tips you must follow to the T to reduce your chances of getting covid-19: 

1. Carry a sanitizers and wipes
We all know that covid-19 virus survives on surfaces and so Dr Shah suggests that you must carry sanitizers and wipes to clean the surfaces that you are most likely to touch—like the trolley, arm rests of the seat, and so on. Also, avoid touching other surfaces like walls, doors, etc while you are in the premises.

alcohol cure for coronavirus
Keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer handy during your flight. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Wear a mask
“There are no ifs and buts about this. The moment you step out of your home you are required to wear a mask. Don’t remove it during the entire trip. Also, wear an N95 mask if possible and don’t use a handkerchief to cover your face,” says Dr Shah.

3. Wear gloves and goggles
According to Dr Shah wearing gloves and goggles will give you better protection. Although, he suggests against face shields.

4. Maintain social distancing
Maintaining six-feet distance is the key,” says Dr Shah. He also suggests being vigilant about the people around you and if you observe anyone who is showing symptoms of covid-19 (like coughing or sneezing), then stay away from them.

The primary source of COVID-19 transmission is human contact. So avoid it. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Don’t touch your face
Touching your face, nasal area, or mouth is a big no. If you still feel the itch to do that, then first wash your hands first using the proper handwashing technique and then touch,” explains Dr Shah.

6. Take a taxi service that is authenticated by the airport authorities
Dr Shah advises that if someone is not coming to pick you up then you must hire a cab which is certified by the airport authorities and sanitise everything you’re likely to touch in the cab as well.

7. Take a bath after reaching home
“Before greeting your family, first remove all your gear like gloves, mask, and goggles outside your home and then take a bath. Only after that should you greet your loved ones,” says Dr Shah.

8. Go into home quarantine
He also advises that once you reach home, you shouldn’t step out to meet your friends or colleagues immediately. Stay quarantined for at least 14 days first.

social isolation and heart health
Staying at home is the key during this pandemic. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

9. Educate your kids
“You know how kids are and if you are travelling with them then you have to be ultra-cautious. Before your flight, educate them about not touching anything, removing their masks, etc. Also, ensure that you carry a water bottle from home and some eatables for your kids as well”, says Dr Shah.

So, here’s the rule book for air travel according to Dr Shah. 

Also, don’t forget to download the Aarogya Setu app as you might be asked to launch it at the airport to check your health status. If you are feeling sick, then it is better to stay at home and avoid air travel completely.

So, give your homecoming a happy ending by following these basic but effective air travel tips and keep your whole family safe from this pandemic.

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.