As Re-opening Continues, How Safe is Family Travel?
As restrictions continue to ease and vaccinations become available to children, you may be wondering if unvaccinated children will be safe while traveling. Be sure to read the updated CDC guidelines, and talk with your child's pediatrician to discuss any concerns. The pediatrician can address any underlying health conditions that your child may have and the risks associated with traveling with certain conditions. Consider how you plan to travel. You will come in contact with less people if you are traveling via a personal vehicle vs a plane, train or bus. Despite this and although traveling by air is not risk-free, I believe traveling on a commercial airline to be safe. Not only is the cabin's air run through a HEPA filter and refreshed every few minutes, but airlines also still require mask wearing for an extra layer of protection. While in the airports, be mindful of others around you, and practice good hygiene and social distancing if possible. Finally, consider where you are traveling, what you plan to do, and how many people you may be around. For example, you will be around a lot less people hiking outdoors than you would at an entertainment venue. Find out if there are COVID-19 outbreaks in that location - are cases going up or down? Does that specific state or country have restrictions in place?
If your physician gives you the OK to get the COVID-19 vaccine, I would recommend following the CDC guidelines and get fully vaccinated, if you haven't already. If you are not vaccinated, please continue to social distance and wear a mask. Don't let your guard down - even if social distancing and mask-wearing restrictions have ended.
When packing for your trip, I recommend packing a wellness preparedness kit. Include hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes, tissues, vitamins/supplements, OTC & prescription medications, masks, N95 masks, gloves, first aid kit, a sleep mask (if that helps you get some zzz), healthy snacks and bottled water (but if flying, do NOT bring water through TSA security).
While on your trip, be mindful of others around you. If you are vaccinated and feel safer wearing a mask, wear a mask. Continue to make good personal hygiene a priority - wash your hands in warm water for at least 20 seconds, carry hand sanitizer with you and use it after touching common surfaces. If you are traveling by plane, TSA still allows you to bring a bottle up to 12oz with you in your carry-on bag. Bring anti-bacterial wipes with you on your trip and use them as necessary (I always wipe down all surfaces in rental cars and at my seat in an airplane). Encourage your children to cough or sneeze into their elbow to avoid spreading any potential germs. During the trip, make sure you make time for plenty of rest. If you become run down, your immune system can become compromised. Drink plenty of water and remember to take your vitamins/supplements (if approved by your physician). Don't forget to get some exercise (even walking helps) and eat healthy snacks (I always pack plenty of protein bars to keep my energy up). Finally, know that it's OK to give yourself a mental break. RELAX and enjoy your trip.
Learn more and see my quote in a recent HuffPost article, here.