November 23, 2020: Staying Healthy While Traveling
If you will be travelling during the break, there are important reasons for everyone to maintain vigilance at all times.
Your chances of getting COVID-19 while traveling increase and also depend on whether you and those around you take steps to protect yourself and others, such as wearing masks and staying 6 feet away from people outside your household (social distancing). Airports, bus stations, train stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces. These are also places where it can be hard to social distance. In general, the longer you are around a person with COVID-19, the more likely you are to get infected.
Although you may feel well and not have any symptoms, you can still spread COVID-19 to others. You and your travel companions (including children) may spread COVID-19 to other people including your family, friends, and the community at your destination for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus.
The following are important tips to follow for air, rail, subway, taxi and ride share travel. These tips also apply to time spent at transportation hubs such as airports and train stations:
- Don’t travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
- Don’t travel with someone who is sick.
- Wear a mask at all times during travel and carry spare masks in case your primary mask becomes contaminated or damaged.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who is not from your household. This is especially important during time spent in security lines.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom and after you have been in a public place. If soap and water are not available then use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid touching frequently-touched surfaces along the way.
- Avoid large gatherings.
Before You Travel
- Is COVID-19 spreading at your destination? The more cases at your destination, the more likely you are to get infected .
- Do you live with someone who might be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19?
If you get infected while traveling, you can spread the virus to loved ones when you return, even if you don’t have symptoms.
- Are you at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19?
Anyone can get very ill from the virus that causes COVID-19, but older adults and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Does your destination have requirements or restrictions for travelers?
Some state, local, and territorial governments have requirements, such as requiring people to wear masks and requiring those who recently traveled to stay home for up to 14 days.
You may have been exposed to COVID-19 on your travels and may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can be contagious without symptoms and spread the virus to others. Regardless of where you traveled or what you did during your trip, take these actions to protect others from getting sick after you return:
- Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when you are outside of your home.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Watch your health and look for symptoms of COVID-19. Take your temperature if you feel sick.
- If you think that you may have been exposed before or during your trip, take extra precautions (in addition the ones listed above) to protect others for 14 days after you arrive.
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Avoid being around people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Consider getting tested for COVID-19.
Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 as the number of cases, both nationwide and locally are increasing.
We cannot become complacent nor can we give in to pandemic fatigue. We must maintain our vigilance and be diligent in making sure people follow ALL the protocols.
Let’s keep health and safety at the forefront of everyone’s mind!
(Adapted from: CDC)