South Africa is still in the grip of the Coronavirus pandemic, and this means that there are probably a few things we need to do differently this festive season. To help you stay safe this festive season, we’ve updated a previous blog of ours around travelling safely during the holidays taking into account our ‘new normal’.
It’s December, and for many of us, that marks the start of the festive season. By now we may have made plans to visit relatives or friends in other parts of the country and may even be making our last business rounds. But this year is different. The Coronavirus is still very much with us, and with our President announcing new, stricter lockdown measures for parts of the country, can we even think of going on holiday?
We believe you can, as long as you bear in mind that personal hygiene is more important than ever! Travelling brings people together - and not always in the most ideal way. Whether you are travelling by bus, train, car or plane, you’ll be sharing a confined space with other people, which makes you more susceptible to infectious viruses and bacteria.
By following these 6 simple guidelines you can stay healthy and enjoy your holidays:
1. Boost your immune system before and during your trip:
Prevention is definitely better than cure, so bulk up on vitamins prior to your trip to ensure that you are less susceptible to infections. Because we don’t necessarily follow our usual routine and meal plan on holiday, our stomach might not agree with our new holiday diet. Probiotics are an excellent way of providing your stomach with healthy bacteria to support your immune system.
2. Practice Social distancing:
Avoid crowds whenever possible, regardless of whether you are at home, on holiday or travelling. If you can’t avoid the crowd entirely, remain in the group for as short a time as possible (preferably less than 15 minutes).
3. Wear a clean, well-fitted fabric mask:
You need to wear your mask whenever you go out in public and will be in close contact with people, and that includes whilst on the plane, train, bus or car, as well as in shopping malls, or indoors with anyone from outside your immediate family. Read our previous post on 10 things you need to know about wearing a mask.
4. Keep an emergency travel hygiene and first-aid kit:
I have recently started putting together an “in case of emergency kit” as you never know what might happen. Fall and scrape your knee? I have plasters for that. Come down with a tummy bug? Here’s an anti-diarrheal product. Flying anywhere? Here are some sanitising wet wipes for the dinner tray and the armrest.
If you are wondering whether it's safe to fly this holiday season, we thought this article was a pretty good read. They also suggest that “the secret is to carry your own sanitiser, spray the surfaces you touch and remember not to touch your face until you’re off the plane and can safely either sanitise or, even better, wash your hands with soap and water.” That, and to keep your mask on at all times. In case you need a reminder, here are 5 good reasons to make a habit of hand washing.
5. Wash your hands!
Good hand hygiene is more important than ever. 80% of germs - including COVID-19 - are spread through touch, and can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours, which means that it is essential that you wash, dry and sanitise your hands regularly during and after your trip.
Remember that to wash your hands properly you need to lather for at least 20 - 30 seconds (or as long as it takes to sing happy birthday twice!) Be sure to add adequate supplies of hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes to the emergency kit, for times when you don’t have the opportunity to wash your hands.
6. Stay outdoors:
Do as many of your holiday activities as possible in the fresh air, and try to avoid indoor spaces wherever possible. If you have to be inside, open the doors and windows to allow fresh air to circulate.
And finally, if you do get sick:
Please stay away from other people if you do get sick! Also, stay away from anyone else who may be ill, and obtain medical advice on what to do if COVID-19 is suspected.
When planning a holiday, the last thing we imagine is spending most of our trip in bed. Don’t underestimate the role that clean hands and good hygiene practices will play in keeping you and your family safe this festive season. COVID-19 is very much still out there, which means that we all need to be aware of our actions, and help protect those around us - even when we are on holiday.