Business as Usual, but With Precautions: How to Combat Threats of COVID-19 If You Travel
The fears of the rapid global spread of CoronaVirus or COVID-19 are real and legitimate. The CDC and the World Health Organization have not suggested people stop traveling altogether, so if you have a domestic trip planned, have almost no fear. Rather, have a “stay healthy” mindset as you enjoy your adventures.
The list we have compiled includes ways as suggested by the CDC and other credible sources to maintain healthy habits while you travel. From shuttles to Ubers to airports, planes, and to your final destination, it is important to take care of yourself and keep in mind the well-being of the people around you.
And as a reminder, three major airlines in the U.S. have announced they will cap flight fares from Europe to America due to President Trump’s 30-day travel ban involving 26 European countries. In order to keep Americans healthy, travel from European countries to the U.S. has been temporarily prohibited. The below information regards mostly domestic travel.
Before you set out on your adventure, make sure to take a few precautionary steps to protect yourself and those around you:
Research the statistics on COVID-19 at your destination. If the disease is spreading faster at your final destination than it is at your home, consider rescheduling. Decide if you have a plan for taking off time from work or school if necessary. If you have close contact with someone with COVID-19 during travel, you may be asked to stay home to self-monitor and avoid contact with others for up to 14 days after travel. To feel secure about any upcoming travel plans, remain in communication with your hotel and airline, and monitor updates.
In order to contract the disease, according to Dr. William Schaffner from Vanderbilt, you must touch the virus and then touch your nose or mouth. Hands are the important intermediary. Antiseptic hand wipes are great for wiping down plane armrests, your tray table, seat, door handles, and remote controls at your hotel.
Most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on airplanes due to air filtration. But regardless, you should always try to avoid contact with sick passengers and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains 60%-95% alcohol.
The virus can be much harder on older adults or anyone with a severe chronic health condition. Think about who you are traveling with/who you are around and if they will be attending crowded places like conferences and events. Also consider your own health issues and whether you could be at a higher risk of getting sick.
Right now, the CDC is recommending anyone who is older or has serious medical conditions to avoid nonessential air travel and cruises.
The WHO advices that if you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person suspected to be infected with COVID-19. Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing, using and disposing of it properly. Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-washing with soap and water or alcohol-based cleansers. The WHO website provides information on how to wear a mask.
It can be heartbreaking to postpone an opportunity to visit family, cancel a work conference, or dismiss exciting spring break plans. As of now, the World Health Organization advises against canceling any domestic travel plans, but being careful and cautious on your adventure.
Be aware of your own health and be open to possibly taking a test when you return from travel, especially international travel. If you begin to feel sick, first call a healthcare professional before going in to get tested. Quarantine yourself while waiting for your results to return for the consideration and respect of others.
The Bottom Line
While the number of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 127,000 more than 68,000 people have recovered. The WHO says those who become infected generally experience mild illness and recover in about two weeks. “We need to remember that with decisive, early action, we can slow down the virus and prevent infections. Among those infected, most will recover” according to Tedros Adhaanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO.
As always, VESICA encourages your personal safety and health as you embark on your travel adventures, as well as the health of those around you.