Carilion Clinic offers guide to safe travel during COVID-19

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ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Even as we find ourselves in the midst of summer, not everyone is keen on going to their favorite vacation destination, but for those who are, Carilion Clinic has released a list of tips to help keep yourself and your family safe while traveling during the pandemic.

Experts are still recommending that a staycation is a better idea this year, but for those who need or want to get away, here are some thoughts to keep in mind, starting with the basics.

  • Stay home as much as possible
  • Practice social distancing by staying at least six feet from others and avoid crowds and mass gatherings
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Wear a mask whenever you are in public spaces

If you’re traveling by vehicle:

  • Open the windows and let fresh air come through
  • Use hand sanitizer as you get in, and when you get out
  • Wear a mask and encourage the driver to wear a mask
  • Stick with natural air instead of recirculating air conditioning

If you’re traveling by plane:

The Virginia Department of Health says air on planes is filtered and circulated in a way that “most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on flights.”

Even with that in mind, there are still unavoidable areas where you can expect to be in close proximity to strangers and frequently-touched surfaces including:

  • At check-in and baggage check
  • At the TSA checkpoint
  • When boarding and deplaning
  • In terminals
  • On shuttles

Masks are also mandatory on most flights; however, experts still urge everyone to avoid all non-essential air travel.

Hotel and Airbnb Stays:

Hand washing, mask-wearing and social distancing are vital when you stay in lodging that other people have recently used.

Anthony Baffoe-Bonnie, M.D., medical director of Carilion Clinic’s Infection Prevention and Control Department says, “Hand hygiene is probably the most important thing in these settings. You can probably take the face mask off when you are alone or only with your family.

Another common concern involves coming home – Do you need to self-isolate?

Dr. Baffoe-Bonnie says that even if you don’t feel ill when you return home, the type of work you do may determine whether self-isolation is called for.

“If you care for sick people and travel to a high-risk area, self-isolation is prudent,” he says.

If you have practiced social distancing, worn a mask and practiced good hand hygiene constantly, you might just want to watch for symptoms before making a decision regarding self-isolating.

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