As the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus continues to spread, raising more alarms, my international travel has not slowed. Here are five things I am doing to minimize my chances of getting sick while traveling.
First, let me say what I am not doing. At this point, I have chosen not to wear a mask when I travel. Masks are much more helpful at stopping your sickness from being passed on than from avoiding it from others. While I don’t wholly discount the effectiveness of masks, I have chosen…at least for now…to avoid them.
Let me also state at the outset that I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice.
1. Hand Sanitizer + Washing Hands
Hand sanitizer alone is not enough; it is helpful and I carry it around, but hot water is also an important part in battling germs.
I’m washing my hands a lot more than before, and a lot more thoroughly than before.
I always wash my hands after using the restroom, but I didn’t always wait for the water to warm up. Now I wait or find another faucet.
I bring my own liquid soap because I am pretty particular about smells and hate the soap at many airports (and airport lounges). My preference is Aesop. Before, I used to skip soap if I found the smell offensive.
2. Avoid Touching Germ Hotspots Like Security Bins
One of the biggest cestpools of germs are on the security bins we place our hand luggage in when going through airport security. These are very rarely sanitized and handled multiple times throughout the day.
I really hate touching these altogether, but when that is unavoidable I will only touch it in one spot (the lower left corner) and disinfect my hands after. If you’ve forgotten to take your own hand sanitizer, look around the security checkpoint. Many airports offer this as a courtesy to passengers, especially now.
I will also avoid touching all doors in airport restrooms and never touch the toilet flushing handles when not automatic.
3. Wipe Down Gym Equipment In Hotels
You never know how often gym equipment is wiped down at hotels. I start and end each workout by wiping the machines I use down with the wipes that are present at any respectable hotel gym.
While a sick person may not be likely to workout, with the extended incubation period for COVID-19 it makes sense to to take this extra precaution when you are about to handle shared equipment. I do the same for free weights and dumbbells.
4. Get Plenty Of Sleep
Our immune systems become weaker when we do not give our bodies adequate rest. I’m one who doesn’t need much sleep to operate. Not that I don’t aim for eight hours of sleep each night, but that if I don’t get it I can still function normally during the day.
But I’m forcing myself to sleep…even when there is work to be done. Our body is our best source of protection and the body requires sleep to unlock its restorative effects.
5. Avoid The Cup At Communion/Eucharist/Mass (Don’t Share Food)
Wherever I am in the world, I still make it a point to attend church on Sundays.
One of the great joys in many Christian traditions is taking communion together, often in a common chalice. While a common cup is something that I greatly value as a symbol of unity, I’ve been dipping lately (it’s formally called intinction).
Now that may not be much better if one person contaminates the cup, but I notice everyone seems to be dipping or avoiding the cup altogether…I think it makes sense during this time while not abandoning the practice.
Perhaps a more general principle is don’t share food right now…
Note that these sorts of precautions, save perhaps the last one, should be exercised always, not just because of coronavirus concerns. I’m quite pleased to report that I have not had one cold (yet) this season, despite very frequent travel. Last year I was sick most of winter and spring (no joke…ask my Award Expert clients).
I have chosen, at least thus far, not to worry about coronavirus. There is work to be done, places to see, and life to be lived.
But I have made adjustments. I’m also trying hard not to touch my face. For what it’s worth, this is what I am doing.