Travel during the New Normal
After months of staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may want to start traveling again. However, the Center for Disease and Prevention (CDC) advises the public to avoid non-essential international and domestic travel, as it increases the chance of contracting and spreading COVID-19. In addition, the Travel Security Administration (TSA) also imposed strict precautionary measures for all travelers. Coronavirus-19 has significantly impacted the way we work, socialize, and travel. Although it is safer to stay home, if you need to travel, here are some tips from the experts to help keep you safe for your journey.
Things to Consider Before Traveling
The CDC advises the public to consider the following before traveling:
- How many COVID-19 cases have occurred and continue to occur at your destination?
The higher the number of cases at your destination, the higher the chance of you getting infected during travel and spreading the virus to others as you return.
- Do you live with someone with underlying conditions who is at a higher risk of developing severe Covid-19 infection?
You can get infected without showing any symptoms and spread the virus to your loved ones both at your destination and when you return home.
- Do you have a high risk of severe illness from COVID-19?
Anyone can get infected. However, the severity of symptoms differ. Older adults and people of any age with pre-existing chronic health conditions are at high risk of experiencing severe symptoms from COVID-19.
- Does your destination have travel restrictions or requirements for travelers?
Some local states and other countries have strict travel requirements and restrictions for travelers. For example, you might need to have a negative COVID-19 swab test results within a certain period prior to travel to demonstrate that you’re free from the virus. Most countries also require mandatory testing upon arrival. Travelers may also be required to quarantine for up to 14 days upon the arrival.
Tips when Traveling
Do your Research
Do your research before you pack your bags and head out. Different states and countries have varied travel restrictions and requirements. Research COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by destination and check your destination’s Risk Assessment Level for COVID-19. Also, you can gather information from the local public health website of your destination. According to the CDC, you will need to check your destination’s restrictions and requirements for arriving travelers, such as mandatory testing or quarantine, if traveling internationally.
You need to secure the basic “new normal” travel needs.
- Firstly, pack hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol and a box of disposable masks that you will need to wear in public places.
- Second, pack enough food and water if restaurants and stores are closed and if drive-through, take-out, and outdoor dining options aren’t available.
- Lastly, see CDC’s guidance on cleaning and disinfecting if you are considering travel lodgings.
Tips on How to Stay Safe during Travel
The CDC encourages the public to take the following steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 during travel:
- Always wear a mask that keeps your nose and mouth covered when in public settings.
- Observe social distancing by staying at least 6 feet apart (about two arms’ length) when in public from individuals, especially those not from your household.
- Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
What to do if you get sick after travel
If you get sick with fever, cough, or other symptoms of COVID-19:
- Stay home and wear a mask to protect others in your household. Avoid contact with others until it’s safe for you to end home isolation.
- Don’t travel when you are sick.
- You might have COVID-19. Discuss testing in a safe environment. Realize that most people recover at home from this virus without medical care.
- Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room and let them know you might have COVID-19.
- If you have concerning symptoms (including high fever or trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
- If you live in close quarters with others, take additional precautions to protect them. Avoid sharing a bathroom and quarantine in a room by yourself.
- If you have a medical appointment that cannot be postponed, call your doctor’s office and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.
Have Safe Travels
We hope that this helps you during your travels. You can also check out our FAQs about COVID-19 to further guide you. Take care, and stay safe!
Dr. Amy Schiffman is an allergy and immunology specialist in Boca Raton, Florida. She is more than happy to help you during this troubling time. COVID-19 Nasal Swab test is available in her clinic at 7100 Camino Real Suite 121, Boca Raton, Florida 33433.
Book your appointment today to address all your allergy and immunology concerns.