• By Deb Balzer

Mayo Clinic Minute: Strategies for safe holiday travel

December 9, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Mayo Clinic recommend delaying travel until you and your family are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are traveling, Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases physician with Mayo Clinic Children's Center, says it's important to have strategies to help mitigate your risks.

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"Travel is difficult, especially in a situation where you might have children and family members of multiple ages, some who are vaccinated and some who are not," says Dr. Rajapakse.

To make it less difficult, along with being fully vaccinated, Dr. Rajapakse says wear a mask, practice good hand-washing and avoid large crowds when possible when traveling.

"On the airplane itself, it's difficult to physically distance. But having some of these other strategies that you're using can reduce the risk of getting infected on an airplane."

Anyone who is not fully vaccinated at the time of travel should get tested for COVID-19 one to three days before travel and three to five days after they return.

"That can also help to reduce the risk not only for yourself but for everyone else and to reduce the chances that you spread the infection if you were to get infected during your travels," says Dr. Rajapakse.

Flu vaccination is equally important. Kids, pregnant women and older adults are at risk of complications, so apply the same good hygiene strategies because flu is spread in very much the same ways that COVID-19 is spread, says Dr. Rajapakse.

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Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date

For the safety of our patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place.  Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a nonpatient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

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