With COVID-19 (Coronavirus) the center of attention in global news, it's difficult not to worry about how it may affect your travels. The first question that may come to mind is if you are at risk. Fortunately, there are many ways to avoid locations that are at high risk and ways to build your own immune system to greatly reduce the threat on your health.
First, you should avoid high risk areas of travel. The CDC provides a great Risk Assessment by Country that may help you understand the areas where your health may be vulnerable. You should also avoid these locations on layovers if flying. Central America, including Guatemala, does not currently have a COVID-19 travel health notice, meaning the "CDC does not recommend canceling or postponing travel to destinations with level 1" or non-listed "travel notices because the risk of COVID-19 is thought to be low". In low-risk locations you should still practice routine precautions.
There are several other ways to avoid risk of infection and boost your immune system, especially when traveling.
You should wash your hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds especially when using the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when traveling in case soap and water is not readily available.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Eating nourishing foods rich in certain vitamins can boost your immune system and help your system fight off illness. While vitamin supplements can help fill in the gaps in your diet, the best way to get your essential nutrients is to get them straight from food. Your body absorbs and uses vitamins and nutrients better when they come from a dietary source.
Vitamin C is one of the best immune system boosters of all. Actually, an absence of vitamin C can make you more prone to getting sick. Vitamin C rich foods include oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale and broccoli. Daily intake of vitamin C is essential for your health since your body does not produce or store it on its own.
Vitamin B6 is crucial to supporting biochemical reactions in your immune system. Foods rich in Vitamin B6 include chicken and cold water fish such as salmon and tuna. Vitamin B6 also is found in green vegetables and in chickpeas.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight off infection. Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts, seeds, and spinach.
Stay hydrated. Water helps your body produce lymph; this carries white blood cells and other immune system cells. Avoiding beverages that dehydrate you like coffee is also a good idea especially when you want to kickstart your immune system.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from COVID-19, and recommends that they are used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent spreading the disease.
While these are helpful tips to avoid COVID-19 risk areas and help to boost your immune system, you should consult your physician if you are feeling ill and find the right program for your individual needs.