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Everything you need to protect yourself if you have to leave the house

Isabelle Kagan, Reviewed.com
Travelers are taking extra precautions amid the coronavirus outbreak—here's what you need.

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

Editor's note: We are no longer updating the story. Click here for our updated story on things you need to stay safe while leaving the house. 

As the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to grow worldwide, there's been an increased panic surrounding travel safety, particularly on airplanes and public transport. While community events and mass gatherings are largely being canceled and more and more businesses are opting for employees to work remotely, the risk of exposure still poses a larger threat in crowded settings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), particularly those with poor air circulation, which includes buses, subways, and trains.

While airlines and transit authorities have heightened their sanitation efforts in order to curb the virus's spread, travelers can still take extra precautions by using disinfecting and antiseptic products while they're on the go, such as hand sanitizer and cleansing wipes. Keep in mind that the CDC recommends frequent hand washing as one of the best modes of defense to protect yourself, so you should always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after traveling as it's the most effective way to prevent the spread of disease. But when soap and water aren’t available, here are a few on-the-go products that may help you stay germ-free while traveling.

1. Travel hand sanitizer

Purell Hand Sanitizer

If you can't get to a sink to wash your hands after touching surfaces in an airplane or on public transport, the CDC recommends an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to sanitize your hands. While hand sanitizer has been flying off the shelves recently, there's still a few places where you can pick up a travel-sized bottle or two, or you can buy larger hand sanitizer and put in your own containers. If all else fails, you can also choose to make your own by following the World Health Organization's (WHO) do-it-yourself guide, using 96% ethyl alcohol, aloe vera gel, and a travel-sized bottle.

2. To-go disinfectant spray

To-go disinfectant sprays like Lysol can help kill viruses and bacteria.

Disinfecting surfaces even before you touch them is another way to help stay germ-free. While transmission of coronavirus is less likely through fomites (objects or materials likely to carry infection) than through person-to-person contact via respiratory droplets, studies suggest that novel coronavirus can live on surfaces up to a few days, according to the CDC. They recommend cleaning and disinfecting dirty surfaces for prevention of COVID-19 in community settings with an EPA-registered disinfectant, like this Lysol one.

  • Note: No to-go disinfectant sprays fitting these guidelines are currently available that we could find. 

3. To-go disinfecting wipes

Wipe down contaminated surfaces with disinfecting to-go wipes.

Cleaning wipes are one of the top products on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) list of disinfectants that can help protect against COVID-19. While they seem to be selling out at most retailers, there are still a few places you can find them. Antiseptic hand wipes can also be used to wipe down handles, grab rails, seats, and tray tables before you touch them. Plus, you can use them to wipe down your phone and keep it germ-free.   

4. Travel packs of tissues

Always use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing.

If you do need to sneeze and cough while in a crowded setting such as public transport, it's important to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and throw away used tissues immediately after. The CDC states this as a vital step to stop the spread of respiratory droplets produced by an infected person. So keep a pack of to-go tissues in your bag or pocket when traveling. Also remember to sanitize hands after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

5. Surgical gloves 

Surgical gloves can be useful while touching and disinfecting contaminated surfaces.

Surgical gloves can help protect you by allowing you to touch contaminated surfaces in public while avoiding your hands coming into direct contact with potential viruses or bacteria. But you still should not touch your mouth, nose, or face with gloves as the virus can still be transferred to your gloves. When we tested the best disposable gloves, we found that the Venom Steel Nitrile Gloves are the best in terms of durability, flexibility, and comfort, but there are other great option out there.

The CDC also recommends wearing gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and to dispose of them after each use, as well as wash your hands afterwards—and again, never touch your mouth, nose, face, or eyes while using them in public.

6. Face masks

You can sew or craft your own face masks.

Since the CDC is recommending that people wear “do-it-yourself cloth covering” while they're out and about, it might be wise to cover your face at the grocery store with a face mask or other cloth material. While most of the masks that retailers are selling are on backorder, you can still find the materials to make your own masks online.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

This article originally appeared on Reviewed.com: 6 on-the-go products that may help protect you from coronavirus