What to Do if You Catch Covid While Traveling

Travel restrictions are not as tight as they used to be. People are already enjoying the effects of economic recovery and even finding more time for leisure. According to Allianz Partners’ study, 75% of Americans are planning to travel domestically this summer.  

But everyone knows that traveling isn’t as easy as it was before the pandemic hit. Other than the typical pre-traveling preparations of having passports, medications, and enough clothing on hand, travelers might want to throw in some COVID-19 test kits. 

With COVID’s new dominant BA.5 subvariant, it would be best practice to prep up some test kits as travel exposes you to different people along the destination. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) recommends travelers have up-to-date Covid-19 vaccinations that include additional doses for immunocompromised and high-risk individuals. 

Furthermore, the US CDC discourages individuals to travel if they manifest any COVID-19 symptoms, test positive, or are still in the process of getting their COVID-19 test results. In the event that those who want to travel test positive, they would have to wait for 10 full days after symptoms had started or the date they tested positive if they were asymptomatic. 

The same guidelines apply to organizations that rely on assignees who often need to travel during summer. Global mobility professionals and HR personnel bear the responsibility of providing traveling assignees with guides on what best to do before they relocate.

Luckily, a Fortune article elaborates on what travelers need to know before they take off.

Be prepared

During the booking stages of a trip, it’s important to check the choice of airline and accommodations to know what their COVID-19 policies are and what they need to do if they decide to cancel due to health reasons.

Also, whether you are traveling with family or friends, the group needs to be on the same page when it comes down to safety precautions. Having a frank discussion about complying with health protocols beforehand will save the group from unnecessary conflicts in the middle of traveling. 

Dr. Preeti Malani, a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan and an infectious disease specialist, echoes the same sentiments. She firmly believes that when you share the same desire for travel, you share the same responsibility. It’s a matter of safety.

Additionally, other than extra COVID-19 test kits, masks, disinfectants, and a thermometer, Malani suggests keeping a list of healthcare providers’ contact information, as well as an updated list of medications.

She adds that being mindful of pre-existing medical conditions will help travelers gauge whether a trip or itinerary is fitting for a specific individual.

Be socially responsible

When travelers do contract COVID-19 in the middle of traveling, the immediate response should be isolation. It’s important to find ways to extend a trip to cover the stretch caused by the isolation period. 

In cases where a COVID-19-positive individual is unable to isolate from his or her household or group, they need to constantly wear masks and attempt to separate travel companions with pre-existing conditions.

Moreover, if children get infected by the virus, the same rules apply. They need to get tested, isolate, and minimize exposure to other individuals.

A study claims that those infected with COVID-19 five days after are the most infectious. Dr. Mark Loafman, a Cook County Health family physician in Chicago, says that though travelers can start to do things after those 5 days, they still have to take extra precautions going about their daily activities.

Be cautious

Though some states have different health and safety protocols, it doesn’t hurt to practice social distancing and the wearing of high-quality masks. 

Kalani understands that there isn’t one solution that eliminates all risks when traveling. However, when you stack up up-to-date vaccinations, social distancing, testing, and being thoughtful about wearing masks even, it mitigates the risks of contracting a highly transmissible virus.

When travelers do start experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, it’s best to get tested immediately. Experts emphasize that timing is of utmost importance when treating the virus.

The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner you can get therapeutics and view healthcare options within the vicinity of your destination. There is no such thing as being too vigilant when COVID-19 is still in our midst.

Because the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over, travelers and those who wish to travel should anticipate that any planned trip should warrant more preparation. Medical experts understand that people are starting to see the reality that people need to learn to live with the virus. Their concern is mainly on keeping risks low and being socially responsible for the greater good.