• Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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Now that we are back in the skies: Here are safe travel health tips

safe travel health tips

There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has held the entire world by the jugular in the last few months. Over 200 countries have reported cases of the disease with Europe, Asia and the US taking the worst hit. The coronavirus was spreading at an alarming speed, forcing countries to put travel restrictions in place. Measures which did not favour the economic policies but became essential to curtail the spread of the disease.

Travels for education, tourism, pilgrimages, businesses were all been disrupted. These have had huge effects on the economy as travels for different reasons are important sources of revenue. There have been job losses, business collapse, disrupted school calendars, separation of families and, or outright economic recessions in many developing countries with the tourism and hospitality businesses taking the worst hit of all.

Should the travel restrictions be extended, the pandemic might leave a more lasting scar from which many countries might not be able to recover any time soon. The governments of different countries are therefore easing the travel restrictions while putting safety measures in place to ensure that livelihoods are restored and sustained while ensuring safety. There are still no widely acceptable vaccines or treatments for COVID- 19; hence individuals are still responsible for their safety as they embark on international travels.

The following pieces of advice will help in minimising the risk of COVID 19 infection as you embark on your trip

Schedule a visit to the travel clinic/ primary care physician before your travel: Presence of other poorly managed co-morbid conditions like hypertension, diabetes mellitus, asthma etc makes you more vulnerable to other diseases like COVID 19. Hence, you must visit your physician to ensure you are in a good state of health before you travel.

Know your COVID 19 status: Some countries and airlines now require COVID 19 test results before you can be allowed into the country. COVID 19 test is also advised to ensure you do not fall ill at your travel destination. It is therefore advised you get tested before you travel.

Obtain your Fit to Fly Certification: Find out if your destination country and airline require a Fit to Fly Certification. If yes, visit a travel clinic to obtain one shortly before your journey.

Ensure that all your travel vaccines are up to date: There are other diseases aside COVID 19 at your destinations. Make sure you are well protected from them. You can make enquiries from your travel physician as to what vaccines are important for your safety.

Avoid all non-essential travels: COVID 19 pandemic is still spreading despite the re-opening of international borders. Do not throw caution to the wind! Void non-essential travels and make use of technology for your business meetings where possible. The less you mingle, the less your chance of contracting the disease.

Keep a travel health kit handy: Gone were the days when we travelled without laying much emphasis on our health. It is important to have first aids bag containing basic medications like acetaminophen (paracetamol) and others. You do not want to unnecessarily visit the overwhelmed health care facility at your destinations in the face of COVID 19 pandemic!

Avoid crowded areas: Airports lounges are usually crowded with passengers. You can arrive at the airport early enough to get checked in before the counters get crowded. Crowded tourist attraction sites are still dangerous. If you must travel, opt for less crowded sites. Make use of less crowded means of transportation like cabs instead of buses while on your trip.

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Other precautions are ensuring you wear your face masks all the time and minimise touching surfaces, Avoid touching or holding rails at the airports, train/bus stations and reduce contacts with door handles.

Use hand sanitizers as frequent as possible especially where soap and water are not readily available, wash hands regular and maintain social distance. Ensure you stay at least 1 metre away from other people at public places.

Do not travel if sick, ensure you stay away from anyone who appears to be ill or has respiratory symptoms.

Familiarize yourself with the airline travel regulations including regulations about children and other special conditions. Familiarize yourself with travel restrictions at your destinations and ensure you have adequate travel health insurance.

Lastly, remember the worldwide emergency number. It is 112. It is free of charge and it works.

There are possibilities of new and daunting regulations at the airports, inside the aeroplanes and at different destination countries. Be mentally prepared for the new-normal ways of travels as the world strives to overcome the huge challenge that COVID 19 has brought.

 

Adeniyi Bukola, Consultant Family Physician and Travel Medicine Physician

Q –Life Family Clinic

[email protected].