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The COVID-19 Risk during Air Travel

Posted on 31 October 2021 by admin (0)

There’s a low risk of getting coronavirus during air travel. That’s because modern airplanes have a system that circulates fresh and recycled air using HEPA filters. These are the same filters that hospitals have in the operating rooms. That means you have a low risk of contracting COVID-19 when traveling in an airplane than from a classroom, commuter train, supermarket, or office bulging.

COVID-19 Transmission

People emit coronavirus when talking, coughing, singing, or sneezing, primarily in droplets that can propel a short distance. In some cases, this virus can spread in smaller aerosol particles that remain suspended in the air longer and travel further. A person gets the infection if the particles reach their nose or mouth via hands or directly. Surface contact can also facilitate transmission in some cases.

Safety of Passenger Aircraft Air

Cabin air enters from overhead inlets, after which it flows downwards to the floor-level outlets. Ideally, the air uses the same or nearby rows to enter and leave the cabin. Airplanes have little airflow backward and forward between the rows. And this makes respiratory particles less likely to spread between rows. Modern jet airliners come with HEPA filters that recycle half of the air.

The air circulation and filtration process explain why only a tiny number of in-flight COVID-19 transmissions have occurred. However, this doesn’t mean you throw caution out of the window when flying.

Protecting Yourself During the Flight

Always wear a mask when flying and avoid traveling if unwell. Also, limit your carry-on baggage. Also, maintain a safe distance from other travelers where possible. If someone seems sick, talk to the staff about it. If you notice an overhead air nozzle, set it to point at your head. Always follow the crew’s instructions and stay seated. Additionally, avoid touching surfaces and your face while washing your hands and sanitize more often.