Recently a man died on a United Airlines plane from acute respiratory failure due to COVID. He had tested positive and allegedly didn’t tell anyone and started becoming short of breath in flight to the point the plane had to make an emergency landing. Furthermore the passengers who tried to save the man are also reporting symptoms. These kinds of scenarios are very costly not only to victims, family members, and passengers but also affects everyone traveling as a whole. How is it possible to travel safely?
- Monitor the CDC COVID Data Tracker – Keeping up to date with the trends in your area is important. If the daily case rate of COVID is increasing rapidly around your area it might be better to postpone your trip and monitor the situation with caution.
- Get tested with the BIOFIRE rapid COVID testing before and after your travels. A research article titled Clinical evaluation of the BioFire® Respiratory Panel 2.1 and detection of SARS-CoV-2 shows that overall, these studies suggest that the BioFire® RP2.1 assay can be used to detect acute cases of SARS CoV2 in addition to patients with low viral titer later in disease presentation. So it seems they are a pretty accurate even with low viral titers.
- If you are COVID positive the CDC says you should probably delay and postpone travelling and quarantine by staying at home.
- If you decide to travel make sure to bring extra supplies such as masks and hand sanitizers. The mask should fit snugly over your nose and mouth, I’ve seen so many people who’s masks are half way off their face. That isn’t going to do much. Here’s a nice research article titled On respiratory droplets and face masks Drikakis et al. that shows that even though masks help prevent the spread of droplets, efficiency is dynamic and effectiveness can drop as much as 8% for regular cough cycles. The droplet sizes when coughing are also smaller when wearing a mask, reducing transmission and the droplet sizes are larger with cough cycles while not wearing a mask. The mask fitting is crucial, if there are small openings or leaks, it can lead to more reduction in mask efficiency.
- Washing your hands with soap is super important. It’s not just about keeping yourself safe but also stops the spread of COVID. Soap functions like a detergent against the “enveloped” Coronavirus. Because the envelope of the virus is a lipid bilayer and soaps are also similar, and basically because like dissolves like, the soap can kill the virus in running water. Alcohol based hand sanitizers can also kill the coronavirus as long as it contains 60 to 95% alcohol.
- If you are going to travel make sure to plan early, socially distance yourself, wear your mask, or even self quarantine about 14 days in advance. You don’t want to pick up the virus or get ill during this time.
- Finally make sure to look up the travel restrictions in the area by the state or local government and also the airline you are flying with!
Stay safe people and be more aware of your health and your family members!
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