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Safe Vacation During COVID-19 – familydoctor.org

COVID-19 is changing many summer plans. The disease caused by the coronavirus is highly contagious and can make travel risky, both for you and for the communities you visit. If caught, COVID-19 can be very serious and even fatal. It is important to take this seriously when planning your trip.

If you must travel, however, there are things you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19.

Path to improved health

Pick a destination that you feel comfortable with.

Different cities and states have different numbers of COVID-19 cases. If you are planning to travel, make sure you do not go to an area that experiences a high number of these cases. Ideally, the number of positive cases in this region should decrease (or decrease) steadily for two weeks before your visit.

You should check travel restrictions and quarantine rules both in the state you are visiting and in your own state. Some states may require you to quarantine yourself for 2 weeks after returning from destinations with a high number of cases.

It is also important to take into account the people you will see on your trip. If you are visiting an elderly family member, for example, you may want to reconsider your decision. Seniors are among the group at highest risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. It is important not to unknowingly spread germs to older family members.

Decide how you want to travel.

Once you know where you are going, you will need to choose how to get there. Perhaps the safest method of traveling today is driving. This is because you can better control your surroundings in your own car. You are responsible for cleaning it up, and it’s unlikely that many other people have been there recently.

However, it can also mean that you have to stay in hotels or stop at restaurants. It is important to try to stop as little as possible. Extra stops mean extra germs. Bringing your own food or traveling short distances that don’t require a hotel can help. However, if you must stop, it is important to know where you are going.

Check the COVID-19 policies of these locations beforehand. Here are some important questions to ask:

  • What are the cleaning routines at this location?
  • Are there any restrictions on the number of people who can visit at the same time?
  • What will you do if an employee or visitor tests positive for COVID-19?
  • In a restaurant, is there an outdoor space where you can sit away from other customers?
  • In a hotel, how long has someone else been in the room? What cleaning has taken place since?

Always be sure to carry hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies like sanitizing wipes. Wear a mask at all times in public, except when eating or drinking. Bring extra masks with you.

Take precautions if you are traveling on an airplane.

On the plane, you have less control over your surroundings. However, if you must fly, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of catching COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask at all times, unless you eat while drinking. This includes when you are at the airport and on the plane.
  • If possible, try to choose a seat away from other people. Some airlines block the middle seats, but others don’t. Choose an airline that you think values ​​precautionary measures.
  • Window seats can be safer than aisle or middle seats because you will be further away from people passing through the hallways.
  • Touch as little as possible. This includes armrests and tray tables, as well as anything in the bathrooms. Use hand sanitizer after touching anything.
  • If you must use the toilet, use a paper towel or hand wipe to touch common surfaces, such as sink or door handles.

Things to consider

It is important to remember that COVID-19 is very serious while traveling. The most common way to get it is to inhale respiratory droplets in the air. When a person with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes, tiny droplets leave their mouth and nose and fly up into the air. If you are within 6 feet of that person, you can inhale it.

COVID-19 can also be shared by touching surfaces that an infected person has touched. However, you are less likely to catch COVID-19 this way.

Traveling increases your exposure to other people and to germs, which can increase your risk of contracting COVID-19. Even if you think you will only have a mild case, you can also pass it on to people who are more likely to be severely affected. This includes people 65 years of age and older and people who have health problems, such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes.

When to see your doctor

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, either before or after a trip, call your doctor immediately. Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • chills
  • repeated tremors with chills
  • muscle pain
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • new loss of taste or smell

If your immune system is weakened, COVID-19 can cause pneumonia or bronchitis.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • If I start to experience symptoms while traveling, who should I contact?
  • Do I have to quarantine myself for two weeks when I return from my destination?
  • Am I at risk of complications from COVID-19?
  • What other precautions can I take to avoid COVID-19 while traveling?

Resources

American Academy of Family Physicians: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

American Academy of Family Physicians: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Top 10 Tips From Your Family Doctor

American Academy of Family Physicians: Know the Facts About Coronavirus (COVID-19)



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