On the home front, people are stockpiling groceries, and household essentials like toilet paper are flying off the shelves – but what should you pack if you’re traveling during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak?
Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has emphasized the importance of frequent, thorough hand-washing with soap and water during the pandemic, hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol are a viable alternative in the fight against the spread of the virus, the organization said.
Regarding the rules for must-have liquid hand sanitizers at the airport, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said that sanitizers are permitted in carry-on luggage in containers at or under 12 ounces.
On March 15, the federal agency unveiled a new website dedicated to answering frequently asked questions related to standard airport security screenings during the pandemic. Notably, the TSA disclosed that people can now pack liquid hand sanitizers – up to 12 ounces, instead of the typical 3.4 ounce size – in their carry-on bags.
However, cans of disinfectant spray are not allowed in either carry-on or checked bags, as prohibited by the TSA. All other all other liquids, gels and aerosols must be at or under 3.4 ounces to pass through a checkpoint, too.
Allergies got you sniffling? Keep a small pack of tissues on hand to practice good respiratory hygiene and keep others around you healthy as well.
Person-to-person transmissions of the novel coronavirus are thought to occur when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread, the CDC reports.
Antibacterial wipes with alcohol
Whether you’re planning to board a plane, train, bus or boat while traveling during the outbreak, wiping down your personal area using antibacterial wipes with alcohol is a good idea, Ohio State University infectious disease specialist Debra A. Goff, Pharm.D., said.
Be sure to hit “high touch” areas like armrests, seatbelt handles, and tray tables, and consider distributing wipes to your fellow seatmates, Goff said.
“Unlike sharing bacteria and viruses, this is something you want to share,” she told Reader’s Digest,
Airline passengers can also bring individually packaged alcohol or anti-bacterial wipes in carry-on or checked luggage — even jumbo-sized containers, the TSA said.
But you probably don’t need a face mask
One thing you likely don’t need to pack along? Face masks. Americans worried about the coronavirus outbreak shouldn’t buy face masks to protect themselves, because the masks are ineffective for those without symptoms – and the purchases deplete the supplies available for medical professionals, according to the U.S. surgeon general.
“Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!” Dr. Jerome M. Adams tweeted last week, addressing fears over the spread of the virus.
“They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!” he added.
Where can I find more information?
Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report.