Two experts walk you through how to minimize the risk of air travel.
They advise you to adopt a method called a ‘Heirarchy of Control’ that is often used by healthcare professional.
Additionally, using simple hygiene tips and arming yourself with specific knowledge about your airport and flight could keep you safe.
We don’t know about you, but we’re ready to travel. And that typically means flying.
Why the fear of flying?
The primary concern with flying – or traveling by bus or train – is sitting within six feet of an infected person. Remember: Even asymptomatic people can transmit. Your risk of infection directly corresponds to your dose of exposure, which is determined by your duration of time exposed and the amount of virus-contaminated droplets in the air.
A secondary concern is contact with contaminated surfaces. When an infected person contaminates a shared armrest, airport restroom handle, seat tray or other item, the virus can survive for hours though it degrades over time. If you touch that surface and then touch your mouth or nose, you put yourself at risk of infection.
Before you book, think
While there is no way to make air travel 100% safe, there are ways to make it safer. It’s important to think through the particulars for each trip.
One approach to your decision-making is to use what occupational health experts call the hierarchy of controls. This approach does two things. It focuses on strategies to control exposures close to the source. Second, it minimizes how much you have to rely on individual human behavior to control exposure. It’s important to remember you may be infectious and everyone around you may also be infectious.
The best way to control exposure is to eliminate the hazard. Since we cannot eliminate the new coronavirus, ask yourself if you can eliminate the trip. Think extra hard if you are older or have preexisting conditions, or if you are going to visit someone in that position.
If you are healthy and those you visit are healthy, think about ways to substitute the hazard. Is it possible to drive? This would allow you to have more control over minimizing your exposures, particularly if the distance is less than a day of travel.
Source: World Economic Forum