Health First Provides Tips on How to Stay Proactive and Aware on Your Summer Vacation

By  //  June 24, 2020

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You Can Still Take That Trip, as Long as You’re Aware and Proactive

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Summer’s finally here – but it’s a summer like none of us have ever seen before. So, if the travel bug won’t leave you alone, is it possible to still go on vacation in the midst of COVID-19?

In this time of uncertainty with a relatively new virus and constantly changing numbers, it’s always safest to stay put. But taking that summer trip is doable – as long as your efforts to stay safe from respiratory illnesses don’t take a holiday along with you. 

“When traveling, it’s critical to continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, as well as be informed about COVID-19 updates in the areas you’re traveling through and to,” said Dr. Anthony Barile, Infectious Disease Medical Director with Health First.

“Be mindful and flexible about your trip. The situation is constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay informed and change your plans if your safety – or the safety of others – could be compromised.”

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When deciding what to do for travel, consider the following:

■ Driving rather than flying: While flying gets you where you need to go quickly and airlines have vouched commitment to strict sanitation efforts, you’re still going to be in an enclosed cabin with other people. We’re still learning so much about COVID-19, so it’s possible someone could be traveling who is unaware they have been exposed to the virus. Driving would limit that interaction.

■ Be safe during stops. Use hand sanitizer after using a gas pump and utilize their one-time disposable gloves for fueling up if those are available – and discard them immediately after use. Bring disinfectant wipes, and use them when handling items or devices others have touched before you use them yourself. Wash or sanitize your hands before getting back in your car. If you stop for something to eat, follow CDC guidelines for restaurants – social distancing, frequent hand-washing and sanitizing, masks when not actively drinking or eating. And try not to touch your face unless you just washed your hands – and then wash them again immediately after. 

■ Be informed about sanitation standards at your hotel or vacation rental. Know what cleaning procedures are in place for your lodging facility, whether it’s a chain hotel, motel or Airbnb. If there is no information on what they’re doing to protect you, reconsider if you want to stay there. And when you get to your room, don’t hesitate to wipe down often-touched objects – remote controls, light switches, sinks, doorknobs, toilet flush handles and more – with disinfectant wipes.  

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■ When in public, wear masks and socially distance. Yes, it’s more of the same, but important. If you partake in any group tours, mask up, clean your hands and stay six feet apart from others. Sneeze or cough into your arm.

■ If you must fly, wear a mask at all times. Remember to bring hand sanitizer (each passenger is allowed to bring one 12-ounce container in their carry-on bag until further notice), hand wipes, and disinfecting wipes. Do not regularly wear latex gloves as protection – they’ll just accumulate germs and are meant for one-time usage and should be discarded immediately. Use disinfecting wipes to clean off airplane seats, tray tables and armrests. While these items are cleaned by airline staff, a quick disinfecting wipe-down by you is only added protection.  

■ Don’t travel if you might be sick. If you’re showing signs of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, do not go anywhere. It is the responsibility of us all to not put others at potential risk and stay home if there is any doubt about your well-being. Don’t risk it – it could not only harm you but others, including those you love. 

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