Staying germ-free and healthy when travelling

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Managing germs on the move

For many, international travel is part for everyday life. Being able to attend a meeting in person or soak up some well-deserved sunshine with the family is more achievable than ever, thanks to low-cost airlines. 

In fact, 2018 saw 1.4 billion tourist arrivals recorded by the World Tourism Organisation, a record year.

Of course, travel is not immune to external factors such as economic recession and global disease. The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic brought tourism to a standstill, and while the long-term impact is yet to be fully understood, a likely effect will be a more conscientious approach to cleanliness when travelling.

As holidaymakers start to plan their next trip, nervousness about contracting illness on holiday is probable for some years to come. Here, the experts at Zidac Laboratories share a few simple steps to help keep surroundings clean and manage the potential spread of infection, both for the trip and the destination.

Staying safe in the air

Experts agree the best way to help prevent infection on the ground is regular hand washing, especially before eating – and the same applies in the air. Lathering up, fully covering both sides of your hands and working in the soap for no less than 30 seconds is the surest way to keeping hands clean and germ-free. 

A bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitiser, such Zidac Laboratories Antibacterial Hand Gel – proven to kill up to 99.9% of bacteria – is a good alternative where cleaning facilities aren’t readily available and can be used before eating. Ensure hands are dried before touching any food and supervise children using sanitiser. 

However – sanitiser cannot clean visibly dirty hands, soap and water is the best option in that instance. 

Germs can live longer on non-porous surfaces such as plastic and metal, so when you board the plane, clean the high-touch areas around you with a disinfectant wipe. 

While planes are likely to have a deeper clean between flights in future, there’s no harm in an additional wipe the belt buckles, arm rests, overhead switches and touch screens. Pay particular attention to the tray tables – studies have shown these to be one the dirtiest surfaces on planes. 

Face masks on flights may become compulsory for adults and children. Make sure you have a one for each family member and that they are clean. If you use disposable masks, take them with you and dispose of responsibly. 

During the journey, keeping hydrated and rested can help support the immune system, as can avoiding alcohol. However, the surest way of staving off sickness is practising cleanliness and making sure children to do the same. 

Staying safe on the ground

Regular cleaning means hotel rooms are likely to be cleaner than many homes, but anyone looking for additional pieces of mind should wipe down high-touch areas with anti-bacterial wipes. These include remote controls, light switches, telephones, door handles and toilet handles. Don’t rest toothbrushes on surface tops, and avoid using glass, chinaware or cutlery that can’t be disinfected.

As we adjust to a new approach to international travel, we recommend following local government advice or guidelines from the World Tourism Organisation.