Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2020 and has been updated in light of the second wave of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak situation.
If you’re brave enough to see Contagion while you self-isolate because of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, then at the very least you’ll probably walk away more aware of what you’re touching and who’s around you when you start traveling again. Or, you’ll never want to leave the house when this is behind us. Who knows! But since that’s not very realistic, especially for those of us with the travel bug, you can pick up a few practical tips from the movie.
Contagion is about a fast-spreading deadly virus that turns into a worldwide pandemic after a carrier sticks her hands in a bowl of nuts at an airport bar – a little too on the nose, wouldn’t you say. It reminds us how much we touch our faces (3,000 times a day) and how little most of us wash our hands, making us all easy targets for common viruses which are looming in hotel rooms and on planes.
Apply these lessons before boarding your next flight or checking into that next hotel room:
1. Stay away from communal snack offerings and wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.
You actually don’t want to wash your hands in an airplane bathroom. Water from airplane tanks has been under investigation for traces of E.coli for several years; this includes the water used in the bathroom, used to make tea and coffee, and sometimes used to make ice. So, stick to packaged beverages sans ice cubes and instead of washing your hands, bring along a package of hand wipes, like Wet Ones, to use in the bathroom.
2. Things touched by multiple people are breeding grounds for diseases!
Think twice about that tray table and the seat pocket. We’ve all seen people stick their used tissues in that pocket, so the best thing to do is just avoid it all together. For the tray table, get out those Clorox wipes and wash it down before using.
Oh, and bring your own blanket too; though they’re packaged in plastic, the plane blankets are rarely washed.
In a hotel room, it’s door handles, telephones, remote controls, light switches and alarm clocks that are all perfect hideouts for nasty germs. Especially since they are also the things least cleaned by housekeeping.
Taking along a travel-size package of Clorox wipes and wiping down these items in your hotel room might just save you a headache later too—literally.
And while you’re at it, it’s not a bad idea to give the toilet seat and shower floor a good once over with a disinfectant before using the bathroom (better yet bring along something to wear on your feet in the shower).
Even if we aren’t in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, Contagion proves how it easy it for viruses to spread, but at least now you’ll be prepared for whatever nasty illness is lurking around you. And if you’re the kind of sadist that wants to watch a movie about a pandemic during this time then check here on how to online.