For many of us, our plans continue to change amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Some wonder if they need to postpone or cancel their upcoming travel.
According to Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Nikita Desai, there are good reasons to avoid hopping on an airplane during a viral pandemic.
“Recirculation of air is a possibility for transmission, but what’s more concerning is all of the places that people touch when they get on an airplane or go to an airport,” she said.
Desai said when we’re traveling, we’re encountering many people and many things. Based on some early studies, experts believe the COVID-19 virus can live outside of the body on surfaces – for hours, or even days. When it comes to contagious respiratory illnesses, Desai said it’s best to keep a distance of about six feet from other people, which is how far a respiratory droplet can travel.
It’s important for people to keep in mind that anything they touch could potentially be contaminated with a virus. And once you touch it, you can transmit the virus to anyone you come in contact with. Desai said limiting or canceling travel is one of the ways we can help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
“It’s really important for people to keep in mind that traveling and exposing yourself to these infections is not just about your health, but the health of everyone that you’re exposed to, as well as people who will come in contact with objects, that you’ve touched, after you.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a dedicated section on its website to inform travelers about advice and travel restrictions. It is recommended that anyone traveling within or outside of the country to check the latest CDC guidelines first.