Traveling this summer? How to travel safely during COVID-19

Infectious disease specialist recommends social distancing, even on the road

A woman drives a car to recognize Sanford Health volunteers with a gift at their homes

With some COVID-19 restrictions lifted, some might look to travel starting on Memorial Day weekend.

If you find yourself among those hitting the roadways, there are important safety reminders to know, and questions to ask yourself.

Is it worth it?

While some states are reporting a decrease in confirmed COVID-19 cases, the risk for infection is still present, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Before traveling, stay informed on the spread within your destination. The CDC notes you can become infected while traveling, and could infect others, even if you don’t have symptoms. This can happen not only when you travel, but also when you return home.

Learn more: CDC guidelines for traveling in the U.S.

“We know that people can be infected with COVID-19 and go several days without having any symptoms, or sometimes even never have any symptoms,” said Sanford Health infectious disease specialist Dr. Susan Hoover.

“Just as at home, you have to be mindful that you could become infected. You could bring back the disease from a different location to your home, and you could also be unknowingly bringing it to the people that you meet on your travels if you have not been isolating yourself at home before your trip.”

Social distancing is the number one way to prevent the novel coronavirus. Maintaining six feet of distance while traveling is “critical in limiting the spread of the disease,” said Dr. Hoover.

Who you’re traveling with, and live with, is also important information to keep in mind. Older adults and people with compromised immune systems are at higher risk for COVID-19 complications.

Do’s and don’ts

Dr. Hoover recommends continuing to practice social distancing, even while on the road.

“The do’s are similar to what we would say when staying home. Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, try to keep six feet away from other people.

“Try to anticipate your needs, and stock up on things. At home, you might go to the store just once a week. Try to anticipate what you’ll need. Make sure you have enough food, enough medicine, enough hand sanitizer to limit the number of times you have to stop along the way.”

She adds that if you’re feeling sick in any way, stay home.

“Don’t travel if you’re feeling sick, don’t travel with people who are feeling sick.

“Don’t attend gatherings where you’re going to be close to people closer than six feet, or avoid crowds. It’s similar to the directions we’ve been following all along.”

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Posted In Coronavirus, Healthy Living, Wellness

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