Summer is here, and that typically means vacation. Traveling (and flying) during Covid requires a few more precautions than past summer vacations. However you plan on traveling, being in close contact with other summer travelers can increase your risk of getting sick, or Covid.
How to prepare for your summer vacation
Get vaccinated. The CDC recommends the Covid-19 vaccine series for everyone ages 6 months and older, and Covid-19 boosters for everyone ages 5 years and older, if eligible. Being vaccinated is important for your family’s safety and the safety of others. It can also help ease anxiety around exposure when flying during Covid. Also, I always recommend getting the flu shot because it is one of the best ways to decrease your chances of getting the flu. Or, if you do get the flu, the flu shot can help decrease the amount of time that you feel unwell. Unless you have an allergy or there is another health reason, the flu shot is highly recommended.
How to avoid getting sick on vacation
- Wear a face mask. While restrictions will vary depending where you travel, the CDC recommends wearing “the most protective mask possible that you’ll wear regularly and that fits,” especially if you’re in close contact with people who are not vaccinated. Wearing a mask will help lower your chances of getting Covid on the plane.
- Wash your hands. The most common way to pass germs is through touching objects with germs on them or being in contact with someone who is sick. In order to wash your hands properly, wet them, lather for 20 seconds, and then rinse. Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and avoid touching other commonly touched items like door handles.
- Be mindful of what you’re touching. If you’re touching door handles or tray tables, make sure to properly wash your hands right after. If you don’t have access to a sink and soap, use hand sanitizer and spread it around both hands until it dries, or you can use disinfectant wipes to help clean your surroundings.
- Stay hydrated. When you are on a plane or other mode of transportation for a long time, ensuring that you are taking breaks and drinking plenty of water will help your immune system.
- Brush your teeth. One seldom known tip is that brushing your teeth helps clear your mouth of germs. It is also a great way to feel refreshed after a long day of travel.
- Keep children occupied during travel. Children tend to be curious and active which means they often get into a lot of things or touch things they should not. Have some games prepared or items that will keep them busy, which may minimize the chances they have to touch or pick up objects.
Items to pack in your suitcase
Should you start to feel sick when you are on your trip, below are some items that are handy to have in a care kit or at home:
- Disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizer
- A thermometer to monitor your temperature
- Medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen or a decongestant, but be sure to check with your doctor if you have any stomach problems or high blood pressure before using.
- Rapid Covid tests
- Telehealth app: Prepare for any health concerns with 24/7 access to medical providers, therapists, and psychiatrists right from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Whether your family needs urgent care in minutes or to schedule a therapy appointment, you’ll have peace of mind knowing great care is close at hand.
Whether preparing for your trip, just getting on your way or already at your destination, it’s important to keep these tips handy to help you and your family stay healthy and enjoy your summer vacation. If you do get sick, remember you can always speak with a doctor using a telehealth app, in most cases, these services are available 24/7.
About the author
Dr. Rachel Kennedy is a Family Practice physician who strives to provide high quality patient care. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Oral Roberts University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude, and received her Doctorate from Oklahoma State University. Medicine is more than just a career, it is her ministry.