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How to Travel Safely With Your Children and Family During COVID-19

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COVID-19 General Information

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic turned the world upside down— or rather, off. Entire countries closed down and citizens all across the world were strongly-advised, if not enforced, to stay home in quarantine. However, as time passes, more and more states and countries are opening themselves back up, allowing for travel, which can open up a lot more opportunities for the spread of coronavirus. Though it’s still widely recommended to stay home and safe, travel can be done and must be done with the utmost care and precaution. Here is a handy guide to travel safely with your children and family during COVID-19.

As of May 22nd, 2020, the US Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) identified 1,571,617 cases and 94,150 deaths in the United States. The CDC is a government-based health protection agency that provides the most up-to-date, accurate, and unbiased information regarding COVID-19 on their website. They have many different guides concerning how to go about daily life, whether or not you have coronavirus or have been around people who have contracted it, covering areas from running essential errands to country-travel-guide, which are very helpful and highly-advised to check in with for you and your family.

How Does COVID-19 Get Transmitted?

COVID-19 is highly contagious and spreads very easily from person to person, only needing about 6 feet distance between people to infect. Coronavirus is also typically showing up as respiratory illness and frequently has been contracted by contact from sneezing, coughing, or talking. One of the important things to remember is that even if a person is asymptomatic, they could still be carriers of the coronavirus and spread it along to those they come into contact with. If you think that you’ve contracted coronavirus or have been in contact or around someone who had COVID-19 in the past two weeks, it’s important to try to get tested if possible and to quarantine yourself and stay home. 

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How Can I Help Prevent My Family from Getting COVID-19?

As time passes and we learn more about the virus itself, there is one aspect of COVID-19 that hasn’t changed: how to prevent it from spreading and infecting other people. As a general rule, the best way to prevent any illness from expanding any further is by social distancing and staying home and as isolated as possible. The CDC recommends staying at least 6 feet apart from anybody you haven’t been in close contact with during the whole of the coronavirus pandemic, though staying right at home is best advised. It’s also imperative to wear a cloth facial-covering whenever you leave your home, to wash your hands frequently with soap and water— or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol in it if you can’t wash your hands— and to clean and disinfect high-frequency surfaces that have been touched a lot throughout the day. In addition, you should also keep an eye on official announcements from the government and the CDC concerning coronavirus in your general area and the overall state of the country or anywhere else, if you are looking to travel.

Something else to keep in mind is knowing who is at the most risk for contracting coronavirus. While everybody should be considered at-risk, those who are even more susceptible include the elderly (over 65 years of age), those living in a long-term care facility, people with underlying medical conditions that already have an effect on their health, such as those with asthma, cancer, HIV, and lung disease, those who are immunocompromised in all respects, those with obesity, those with diabetes, those undergoing medical treatment and recoveries, and those with liver diseases. If you are going to travel, you may be in perfect health, but you must remember to help protect those who are the most high-risk for getting COVID-19 by taking as many safety precautions as possible.

What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19?

In terms of the symptoms of COVID-19 that the CDC has reported, there have been quite a few symptoms that are widely spread, but they may vary between each case. Usually, symptoms will appear between 2-14 days from the passing of the virus, though another important thing to note is that even though someone may have contracted the virus, they might not show symptoms but they still have coronavirus and can spread it just as easily. COVID-19 has been reportedly more respiratory illness, causing symptoms such as a cough, shortness of breath, and a sore throat, however, other general symptoms may include a high fever, chills, muscle pain, and a newfound loss of taste and or smell. Many of the symptoms are the same as your standard flu symptoms, but they should still be watched over with a careful eye. 

Emergency warning sign symptoms include trouble breathing, persistent pain in the chest, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, and bluish lips and face from a lack of oxygen. If anybody experiences any of these symptoms, they are urged and highly advised to seek out medical attention as soon as possible, if they can.

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How to Travel Safely with your Children and Family During COVID-19

Traveling is something that has been missed by a great number of people and maybe something that you need to do; though it is generally advised against, there are multiple things you can do to help travel safely with your children and family during this COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC has a specific page for travel-related questions that is very helpful with the most up-to-date and accurate information.

Traveling will definitely increase the risk of infection, but there are things you and your family can do to prevent getting sick while traveling. Social distancing guidelines still apply no matter where you may go, so as to avoid contact with infected persons as a good first step. Before you travel, you should be up-to-date with any regular vaccinations to help prevent not only those specific illnesses but the general state of being immunocompromised, which would put you at a higher risk for contracting coronavirus. 

Viruses can be spread through respiratory exchanges, however, it can also be exchanged through means of direct physical contact, such as touching, meaning you should avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose and be sure to wash your hands frequently. The CDC states that you should use soap and water and wash for at least 20 seconds; if soap and water aren’t available to you, you should always carry around and frequently use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol in it. Another CDC recommendation is to wear a cloth face mask— that you wash after every use— that covers the nose and the mouth whenever they are not at home. The mask is more intended to prevent your own germs from reaching other people in more public settings rather than prevent you from getting virus particles on yourself.

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Is It Safe to Travel?

One of the main reasons that people may want to travel right now is to see loved ones, which usually might mean domestic travel— is it safe? Any form of travel anywhere, whether it be across states or just going to run essential errands, will put you at a higher risk for contracting the virus. The CDC is recommending that all travels avoid nonessential travel simply due to how contagious coronavirus is. All you can do is best prepare yourself to take as many safety measures and precautions before, during, and after your trip. It’s recommended to learn more about COVID-19 rates where you are and where you’re going and to also bear in mind the state of the people you wish to go visit: are they high risk? If so, it might not be as safe to visit them, but each situation bears its own discretion and specific judgment. No matter what, and above all, it’s important to be as safe as possible and to do your part to prevent further spread of the virus. In terms of international travel, it’s difficult to even leave the country, let alone enter another one. 

What Can I Do During Travel to Prevent COVID-19?

Each country is handling the pandemic in different ways and many have different levels of access to healthcare in case something does happen. Most countries are implementing strict travel regulations through means of closing borders and instilling mandatory quarantines. Many airlines are canceling flights and cruises are staying docked. The CDC has a website with information on how each country is handling the coronavirus. If there is an instance where you do take a plane ride, it’s still important to be as cautious as possible and to practice safe habits. The chance of contracting illnesses through the spread of viruses and germs on a plane is lower because of the specific air circulation and filtration, but there is still a chance to catch COVID-19. Avoid contact with others as much as possible, keep your hands to yourself and don’t touch your eyes, mouth, or nose, wash your hands following specific CDC guidelines, and apply hand sanitizer as an extra cleaning.

When taking any trip, but especially during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to also anticipate travel needs. This means bringing at least enough medicine, at least 60% alcohol-content hand sanitizer, cloth face coverings, non-perishable food, and water to last your trip, if not longer just in case you can’t return home. Restaurants and grocery stores may be closed, so it’s important to be able to provide for yourself and your family, just in case. You will also want to clean and disinfect your surroundings and lodgings using the CDC’s specific guidelines, to help ensure cleanliness and safety for your family. 

In terms of a general plan to follow, you should also look for and follow local and state travel restrictions in your community, along the route, and at your destination— frequently checking in will help ensure that you are aware of any travel restrictions, mandatory quarantines, or even border closures. The bottom line is having enough knowledge and awareness of where you are, where you’re going, and where you will be in order to be as safe and protect your family as much as possible. When you get back home, it’s advised that everybody in your family stays home for two weeks after you return back home, monitor your health and symptoms and take your temperature at least once daily, and social distance at about 6 feet in general.

Photo by United Nations COVID-19 Response on Unsplash

How Are You Staying Safe During COVID-19?

Traveling is a privilege and, during such a time as this, the most important asset that you’ll have is knowledge. By constantly checking in with the CDC and your family, talking about the virus and how to best protect yourself, and taking the steps to prevent further spread of COVID-19 as much as you can, you’re already in a better place than you were before; awareness is the key to being the most prepared that you can possibly be. Though travel is very highly recommended against, there may be some circumstances where it is a necessity and being able to have the initiative to take the proper steps to ensure you and your family’s own health, as well as the health of those around you, is extremely important. The CDC has a specific FAQ page concerning travelers and traveling— local, national, and international— that is also a very good asset to have and frequently check-in with. Keeping up with a healthy lifestyle is also highly recommended.

Is your family staying at home? What are the steps that you and your family are taking to be safe and help not spread the coronavirus? Have you needed to take any trips and if so, what did you do to help protect yourself and your family? Let us know in the comments. Stay safe!

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