HEALTH

Health officials describe how can avoid germs and illness while traveling

Feb 27, 2020, 5:39 AM | Updated: Mar 12, 2020, 9:27 am
TSA guns...
(Travelers going through the security checkpoint at Salt Lake International. Credit: Paul Nelson, file)
(Travelers going through the security checkpoint at Salt Lake International. Credit: Paul Nelson, file)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a growing list of places that they recommend people to avoid travel to because of the Coronavirus.  The harshest warnings are for China and South Korea.  Iran, Italy and Japan are just a bit lower on that list.

Are Utahns worried about getting sick while they travel?  What do health officials recommend?

As you go through Salt Lake International, you’ll likely see people doing anything they can to keep from catching cooties from anyone else.  Face masks, bottles of Purell… whatever it takes to keep germs at bay.

We asked travelers at the airport to think about what they touched within the last hour.  One man says, “The seat is the closest thing that I would get.  I try to touch nothing.”  Others say they touched things like ticket counters, sinks, garbage lids, handrails, computers and doorknobs.  Several say they touched as little as possible, but quite a few say they couldn’t remember what they had touched.

One woman tells KSL, “Even when I do touch stuff, I go straight to the bathroom and wash my hands.  I used to work in a restaurant, so, I’m always washing my hands after I touch stuff.”

Is it common for viruses to spread more quickly on airplanes since the air is recycled?  Not really.  The World Health Organization says air quality is carefully controlled, and they change the air roughly 20 to 30 times per hour.  They also say, “there is very little risk of any communicable disease being transmitted on board an aircraft.”

Salt Lake County International Travel Clinic Manager Holly Berich says, “The people who are most likely to infect you are the people in your row or maybe one or two rows ahead or one or two rows behind you.”

However, she says the person most likely to infect you is yourself.  Why?  How often do you touch your face?

One traveler says, “Probably more than I should, subconsciously.  I just think you do it without knowing it.”

Berich says the best way to stay healthy while traveling is to properly wash your hands, which she says many people aren’t doing.  She has studied how well people wash their hands after they use the bathroom and too many people aren’t taking enough time to cover their hands completely.

She also says there are many more things that can make a traveler ill, besides an airborne virus.  There are foodborne illnesses and diseases transmitted by insects.  So, she urges people to see a specialist before they travel.

“If they’re traveling, we do recommend, even if they don’t come here, that they do go see a travel clinic specialist,” Berich says.

Today’s Top Stories

Health

university of utah...
Mark Jones

University of Utah Health among the nation’s top 10 for 13th year in row

The 2022 Vizient Bernard A. Birnbaum, MD, Quality Leadership Award has ranked University of Utah Health in the top 10 for the 13th straight year.
1 day ago
intermountain healthcare...
Mark Jones

Name change coming to Intermountain Healthcare next year

In 2023, Intermountain Healthcare will change its name to Intermountain Health.
3 days ago
ovarian cancer...
Simone Seikaly

A new chance for a fighting chance against ovarian cancer

What may be most alarming about ovarian cancer is that the symptoms are there, but they are quiet and can be mistaken for something else.
3 days ago
Lincoln Beach pictured. Two shooting at Utah Lake happened near this beach....
Simone Seikaly

Utah County Health issues warning about harmful algal blooms

Utah County officials have detected high levels of harmful algal blooms at multiple Utah Lake marinas and beaches.
3 days ago
Intermountain milestone 1 million tests...
Mark Jones

Intermountain Healthcare purchases land near Ephraim

Intermountain Healthcare has plans to develop 35 acres of land in the Ephraim area into a new hospital.
4 days ago
At 5800 So. 1400 W. you find an irrigation canal that attracts  a lot of waterfowl, seagulls and ev...
Mark Jones

Officials warn of additional cases of avian influenza

With the fall migration of wild waterfowl, state officials are warning bird owners to be prepared for additional cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza or avian influenza.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Health officials describe how can avoid germs and illness while traveling