With the advent of Coronavirus (COVID-19) many people are asking whether it is safe to travel. The best way to answer this question depends on where they are going. If traveling outside the US it is best to consult the CDC website, at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel to determine your risk. The information is updated and changes frequently.
According to the CDC, “At this time, most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus. This virus is NOT currently spreading widely in the United States. However, current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic. The information and number of cases and states reporting is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment will be updated as needed.” For a listing of where the COVID-19 is in the U.S. visit, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html#confirmed-cases.
If you are flying domestically (in the US) the list below offers some of the best things you can do.
- Make sure your vaccinations are up to date
- Get the Flu and Pneumonia vaccine at least two weeks before you travel.
- Don’t travel if you are feeling ill.
- Individuals can practice everyday prevention measures like frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, and covering coughs and sneezes and don’t touch their eyes, nose and/or mouth.
- Learn about the health concerns at your destination. Even if you’re familiar with where you are going, new and important health concerns could make or break your trip.
- If you feel ill either while vacationing or after you get home, see a healthcare provider.
To wear or not to wear a face mask? Disposable medical masks (also known as surgical masks) are loose-fitting devices that were designed to be worn by medical personnel to protect accidental contamination of patient wounds, and against splashes or sprays of bodily fluids. There is limited evidence for their effectiveness in preventing influenza virus transmission either when worn by the infected person for source control or when worn by uninfected persons to reduce exposure. [Source: CDC]. Typical facemasks we can purchase in the drug store are thin and do not necessarily block the spray of germs from escaping through the fabric.
Just the thought of our being able to wear flip flops, stick our toes in sandy beaches and warm oceans help get us through the cold temperatures. Certainly, the last thing you may be thinking about is getting sick – but with the presence of COVID-19 looming it is essential that you research the location you want to visit and make your plans responsibly.
Whether you plan to head to a warmer state in the US, the Caribbean or a beach in Mexico make sure you are up to date on your vaccines. Taking the time to review your immunizations does not take up any space in your suitcase and will help keep you as safe and healthy as possible while you are away.
No matter where the sun and warm temperatures, or the snow and mountains take you, immunizations, both those that are required in the US and any that may be required out of the country, is the one sure thing that can make, or break your vacation plans. Have you checked whether where you’re going requires (or strongly recommends) any additional immunizations? A good place to start is https://www.tripsavvy.com/destinations-4138650.
Take the time, find out what you should be protecting yourself and others from that could quickly turn the best vacation ever to one of the worst; something you may have been able to prevent with a little research, time and a visit to your health care provider.
Routine vaccinations, such as those directed against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR); diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis; varicella (chickenpox); polio; rotavirus; and influenza are important for travelers (and non-travelers). These vaccines are particularly important when traveling, as these diseases still occur commonly in many parts of the world.
In addition to the possible threat of COVID-19, if you are headed to the Caribbean or Mexico, mosquitoes can be problematic. Aside from the itch, mosquitoes can cause the dangerous Zika Virus. Currently there is no vaccine for Zika virus, although a possible solution is in progress. The best way to avoid returning home with Zika or Dengue, which is also been found in the Caribbean and Mexico, follow some precautions during the trip.
- Mosquito netting and insect repellent sprays are reliable ways to keep the bugs away from you.
- Wear long sleeves and pants to protect your skin when heading to areas that are heavy with mosquitos.
Vaccines protect travelers from serious diseases and help ensure great memories of sandy beaches, umbrella drinks and warm, calm oceans. They will also help make sure that you don’t bring any serious diseases home to your family, friends, and community.
Spring break – regardless of whether you are a college student, family or senior – is just around the corner. Are you ready to have a safe and memorable – in a good way – trip?