Thursday, 9 October 2014

Travel in the time of Ebola

Perhaps a fitting symbol for worldwide sadness about Ebola
Photo: John LeGear, creativecommons (more info)
With all the buzz about Ebola and airport screenings, what's a traveller to do? Is it really OK to be "out there"? In a word, yes.

 If you already travel saavy, you know about - and hopefully practice - road warrior street smarts: wash your hands (frequently, with soap), wipe down surfaces, carry sanitizer (but don't overuse it), drink plenty of sealed bottled water, get plenty of sleep and enjoy your journey.

Weighing in on the subject, is Robert L. Quigley, MD, D.Phil, Regional Medical Director and Vice President of Medical Assistance, Americas Region, International SOS. In his piece, Ebola Outbreak Spreads Across Three Countries: What Do Travelers Need to Know? for @HuffPostTravel, Quigley advises, "For travelers, it means staying away from affected areas, and avoiding contact with people who are sick as well as practicing strict attention to hygiene."

Unless you are travelling to one of the Ebola hot zones in Africa (it's a big continent), then these actions will serve you well. Of course, pay attention to travel advisories for your destination, and check for updates periodically. Common sense will get you further than panic.

DON'T be alarmed if you see overt health screening in an airport. Rather, see this as the authorities taking the necessary measures to protect everyone.

An excuse to buy gloves?
If you tend towards the panic end of the spectrum, then add some face masks and disposable gloves to your backpack. Hopefully, knowing they are there, will help you relax. Heck, pick up a lovely pair of gloves on your travels and wear them whenever you feel like it (who cares how silly you look?). They won't necessarily protect you how you imagine they will, but if they keep you from giving in to panic, then fine, whatever it takes.

And if you do feel yourself starting to get run down, take it as a sign to take time out - get a decent place to stay, curl up with a book, eat well and rest. Then hit the road again. Your immune system will thank you.

In her piece for @Forbes, Ebola, Erupting Volcanoes, Terrorism: Travel Tips For Scary Times, author Lea Lane brings much needed perspective, "The bottom line is to keep traveling: using your head, trusting your gut, controlling as much as you can — and realizing that you can’t control everything."

We couldn't agree more.

"Travel should continue and be an exciting adventure. With the right precautions in place, it should also be a safe endeavor," says Quigley. 

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