After just a week into the coronavirus lockdown in the UK, many weary travellers have grown familiar with how to protect themselves from the deadly coronavirus. Airplanes, hotel rooms and crowded areas have all become no-go zones for regular people unless you’re having to travel for an essential reason. But even day-to-day while travelling to the shops for essentials, how do you keep your belongings and clothes clean?
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Can you catch the dreaded bug or spread it via your clothes?
Medical experts have said the threat is low but have also suggested several precautions to help ease people’s minds.
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According to research conducted on the coronavirus, the virus can spread through particles in the air and via contaminated surfaces.
The virus is typically expelled when a person coughs or sneezes so the particles can land clothing.
If no one around you has tested positive for the virus then you should wash your clothes as normal.
But if you’re out shopping and people are not adhering to social distancing rules then it might be an idea to wash your clothes as soon as you get home.
If someone in your household does have covid-19 then extra precautions should be taken.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended wearing disposable gloves when handling clothes and then discarding the gloves afterwards.
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Your hands should be cleaned after using the gloves.
Another tip is not to shake dirty laundry as you could disperse the virus into the air.
The CDC has confirmed that washing clothes with detergent will also kill the virus.
But metal, plastic and glass are more frienfly habitats for viruses with research suggesting that the virus can live on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours.
When travelling, a canvas tote bag or rucksack might be preferable to a carry-on with an aluminium handle or a plastic suitcase.
Ann Falsey, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Rochester Medical Centre in New York said the virus can generally last less than a day on fabrics and other porous materials, and 30 minutes to an hour on hands.
However, Ms Falsey also said that instead of washing your clothes you could always just leave them.
She said simply: “Don’t use them for a week and the virus will die.”
Greg Poland, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said that to catch the virus from luggage, you would need a very specific series of events to occur.
He said: “You’d literally have to have someone sneeze all over it, get mucus on it and then, within minutes to a few hours, you would have to touch your bag and then your face.”
He suggested that concerned travellers should wipe down the parts of their luggage that have been touched by other people.
Mr Poland also suggested putting anything that could be contaminated out in the sun as the humidity and temperature along with the UV will disrupt the virus.
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