Everything you need to protect yourself from germs when you’re on the go
Take extra precautions while you're on the go with these products.
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As the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to grow worldwide, there's been an increased panic surrounding travel safety, particularly on airplanes and public transport. While community events and mass gatherings are largely being canceled and more and more businesses are opting for employees to work remotely, the risk of exposure still poses a larger threat in crowded settings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), particularly those with poor air circulation, which includes buses, subways, and trains.
While airlines and transit authorities have heightened their sanitation efforts in order to curb the virus's spread, travelers can still take extra precautions by using disinfecting and antiseptic products while they're on the go, such as hand sanitizer and cleansing wipes. Keep in mind that the CDC recommends frequent hand washing as one of the best modes of defense to protect yourself, so you should always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after traveling as it's the most effective way to prevent the spread of disease. But when soap and water aren’t available, here are a few on-the-go products that may help you stay germ-free while traveling.
1. Travel hand sanitizer
If you can't get to a sink to wash your hands after touching surfaces in an airplane or on public transport, the CDC recommends an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to sanitize your hands. While hand sanitizer has been flying off the shelves recently, there's still a few places where you can pick up a travel-sized bottle or two. If all else fails, you can also choose to make your own by following the World Health Organization's (WHO) do-it-yourself guide, using 96% ethyl alcohol, aloe vera gel, and a travel-sized bottle.
- Get the Hand Sanitizer, More Than Magic at Target for $1.99
- Get the Touchland Power Mist Watermelon Hand Sanitizer at Ulta for $12
- Get the Artnaturals Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer Gel at Amazon for $14.98
2. To-go disinfectant spray
Disinfecting surfaces even before you touch them is another way to help stay germ-free. While transmission of coronavirus is less likely through fomites (objects or materials likely to carry infection) than through person-to-person contact via respiratory droplets, studies suggest that novel coronavirus can live on surfaces up to a few days, according to the CDC. They recommend cleaning and disinfecting dirty surfaces for prevention of COVID-19 in community settings with an EPA-registered disinfectant, like this Lysol one.
3. To-go disinfecting wipes
Cleaning wipes are one of the top products on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) list of disinfectants that can help protect against COVID-19. While they seem to be selling out at most retailers, there are still a few places you can find them. Antiseptic hand wipes can also be used to wipe down handles, grab rails, seats, and tray tables before you touch them. Plus, you can use them to wipe down your phone and keep it germ-free.
- Get the Wet Ones Big Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes Travel Pack, Fresh, 28 Ct at Walmart for $2.28
- Get the Clorox Disinfecting Wipes On The Go, Bleach Free Travel Wipes - Fresh Scent, 9 ct at Walmart for $0.97
4. Travel packs of tissues
If you do need to sneeze and cough while in a crowded setting such as public transport, it's important to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and throw away used tissues immediately after. The CDC states this as a vital step to stop the spread of respiratory droplets produced by an infected person. So keep a pack of to-go tissues in your bag or pocket when traveling. Also remember to sanitize hands after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Get the Kleenex Everyday 9 x Pocket Tissues, 8 Pack at Amazon for $5.60
- Get the Kleenex Go Pack Facial Tissues, 3-Ply, 3 Pack at Staples for $3.79
- Get the Quality Choice Tissue Pocket Packs 3-Plys, 8 Pack at Walmart for $2.28
5. Surgical gloves
Surgical gloves can help protect you by allowing you to touch contaminated surfaces in public while avoiding your hands coming into direct contact with potential viruses or bacteria. But you still should not touch your mouth, nose, or face with gloves as the virus can still be transferred to your gloves. When we tested the best disposable gloves, we found that the Venom Steel Nitrile Gloves are the best in terms of durability, flexibility, and comfort, but there are other great option out there.
The CDC also recommends wearing gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and to dispose of them after each use, as well as wash your hands afterwards—and again, never touch your mouth, nose, face, or eyes while using them.
- Get the Venom Steel Nitrile Gloves at Amazon for $19.99
- Get the GlovePlus Industrial Clear Vinyl Gloves at Amazon for $6.45
- Get the Kimberly-Clark Powder Free Purple Nitrile Gloves, Medium, 100/Box at Staples for $23.89
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.