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Published on June 03, 2020

Considering Summer Travel? Here’s How to be Safer

Summer travel will not be the same as in years past, but those who do wish to travel during this season can take steps to make their journeys safer.

“The tone of restrictions and warnings has changed, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also changed their guidance on travel,” said Avera Medical Group physician David Basel, MD, who is Vice President of Avera Medical Group Clinical Quality.

“Traveling during a pandemic is not going to be without risks,” Basel said. “If you’re going to venture out, do so with a plan in mind and remember to follow the guidelines and recommendations that can help protect you and your loved ones.”

Those at high risk should be especially cautious, Basel said. “That would include people 65 and older, those with chronic conditions and others who may have compromised immune systems.”

Basel shares these tips for safer travel:

  • Do not travel if you are sick. If someone in your family is ill, it’s best to postpone your trip.
  • Keep an eye on reports of community spread along your route and at your destination. Avoid any community that has higher activity of the virus.
  • Stay closer to home. Look into possibilities in your own region. Check out hike/bike trails, picnic destinations or scenic drives.
  • Opt for outdoor activities where there’s plenty of open space for social distancing.
  • Consider car travel with your family or a small group of friends, rather than public transportation on an airplane, train or bus.
  • Wear a face mask and practice social distancing in public places, with at least 6 feet between yourself and others.
  • Wash your hands often – for at least 20 seconds and with soap and water, especially when you’ve been in a public place. When soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
  • Always cover a cough or a sneeze with your sleeve, or better yet, a tissue. Avoid touching your face.
  • Drive-through or curbside pickup offers less risk of exposure than dining in a restaurant. If you do eat out, maintain 6 feet between yourself and others.
  • Bring disinfectant wipes to wipe down surfaces you come into contact with – for example, in a hotel or rented cabin. If you camp, you can wipe down surfaces like faucet or shower handles in the public restrooms.
  • Bring a digital thermometer along with your other travel essentials. If someone in your family or group develops possible symptoms of COVID-19, contact your clinic and head for home. Symptoms to watch for include fever over 100 degrees, cough, shortness of breath, vomiting or diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell, or sore throat.

“I would encourage anyone to call their health care provider if they notice any signs of the COVID-19 virus,” said Basel. “Keeping yourself healthy – with hydration, plenty of rest, good food and moderate alcohol use – are all helpful in the overall effort to avoid illnesses, including the pandemic we’re facing now.”

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