Luggage: Expert’s simple tip to reduce risk of spreading COVID-19 after holidays

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Coronavirus has turned the world upside down, with holidays now a distant memory for some. Yet, eager holidaymakers have grasped the opportunity that travel corridors have presented.

Though many people feel confident enough to jet off this year, the risk of spreading the virus internationally could still be a cause for concern.

There are many ways you can protect yourself and others by travelling.

These include the use of face masks, now mandatory with most airlines, and washing your hands frequently.

However, it seems luggage can also pose an unexpected risk – but one which can easily be reduced.

Deyan Dimitrov, CEO of Laundryheap explains one simple way to ensure your belongings are safe upon return.

“When you come back from your trip wash all of the clothes that you took away with you,” explained the travel expert.

“A general wash at 30 degrees should suffice.

“If you wish to, add some washing-machine safe disinfectant into the rinse cycle.

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“Wash white clothes and towels separately at a hotter temperature.”

The virus has a different life expectancy depending on the type of surface it is on.

When it comes to fabric, scientists suggest that it can only survive up to two days.

This is why washing is so vital.

“If you’re concerned that your clothing may have been exposed to COVID-19, the best way to get rid of the virus is to wash any exposed clothing on heated cycles,” John Sensakovic, M.D., division director of infectious disease at JFK Medical Centre told Hackensack Meridian Health.

The NHS also recommends washing clothes and personal belongings frequently.

“Normal washing of clothes will reduce the risk of germs being transmitted,” states the NHS website.

“In certain situations clothes should be washed at higher than normal temperatures and with a bleach-based product to minimise the transmission risk as much as possible.”

However, it isn’t just clothing that holidaymakers should be sure to clean.

Mr Dimitrov added: “We are constantly in contact with our phones, touching them with our hands and holding them to our face, so it’s really important to keep our phones as clean as possible when we travel.

“Use a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or spray disinfectant onto a clean tissue and wipe all over your phone to keep it sanitised.

“Try to do this before washing your hands so you avoid touching germy phones with clean hands.”

Similarly, any other hard objects, including luggage itself, should be cleaned when possible.

“Antibacterial wipes work well to remove bacteria, but aren’t strong enough to remove traces of the virus,” explained Mr Dimitrov.

“Instead, use a travel-sized bottle of disinfectant and some pocket tissues (or 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe) to wipe over items such as keys, purse, cameras, makeup compacts, and any other items with a hard surface.”

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