Is it okay to travel if I feel sick? Many people are asking this question, or if they should be traveling at all due to the recent global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Depending on who you ask, people are going to have different opinions on this question. Although, the real answer depends on how sick you are.
Although it’s not ideal to travel while sick, sometimes you have to. Maybe you have to get home or need to hope on a plane for work. Or you can’t get a refund for a trip and simply can’t afford not to go.
Whatever the reason, most people like to try and travel, even if they’re not feeling the best. But is this safe?
When Shouldn’t I Travel?
There are a few things that you might want to take into consideration when deciding whether to travel or not while sick:
Am I about to fly with a fever?
If you have a temperature of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you should avoid flying and traveling.
Flying can intensify your fever making it more dangerous for you, but it’s also a danger for the people around you. Airplanes are small, contained spaces and sicknesses can travel quickly from person-to-person.
The CDC highly recommends that you don’t fly if you have a fever, especially if you’re also experiencing: diarrhea, coughing, or vomiting.
Is my chest pain normal?
If you’re experiencing unusual chest pain or shortness of breath, you should cancel your trip and seek medical help immediately. This could be a sign of a heart attack.
Although these considerations are pretty cut and dry, other health instances may be less obvious.
If you feel like you’re too sick to travel and need to cancel your flight, notify the airline as soon as possible. The sooner they know, the likelier the chance of you receiving a refund. If you want to be proactive, purchase travel insurance beforehand to ensure a refund.
That being said, many airlines have said that they are waiving all cancellation fees due to COVID-19, so make sure you check to see what your airline is doing.
When is it Safe for Me to Travel While Sick?
If you’re experiencing some nausea, this could be nerves, but overall, it’s safe to travel. If you’re also feeling nauseous or experiencing diarrhea or a fever, it may be something to consider. Nausea is a common early symptom of illnesses that can be much more serious.
Also, keep in mind that flying will probably increase the symptoms of whatever you’re feeling due to air pressure, especially if you have a head or ear ache. To help ease these symptoms, use a nasal decongestant about 30 minutes before your flight to bring down swelling and pack some pain killers.
If you’re traveling and are worried about staying healthy on your trip, make sure you wash your hands, bring hand sanitizer, and stay hydrated.
Traveling During the Coronavirus Outbreak
COVID-19 has spread throughout the world in recent months, with over 100,000 cases worldwide and more than 3,000 deaths. The symptoms of COVID-19 are like the flu, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Depending on a some details about the individual like age and health history, these symptoms could become deadly.
COVID-19 is contagious and spreads from person-to-person through respiratory droplets in the air and on infected surfaces. Due to this, many are worried about traveling right now.
On March 5, the U.S. State Department issued a level 4 travel warning. They urge travelers not to travel to China, Italy, and South Korea. This warning does not include Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan.
If you do still decide to travel right now, here are some precautions you should take to stay as safe as possible:
- Do your best to avoid contact with sick people
- Don’t touch your face
- Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds
- Avoid animals at markets or any animal products
Are you worried about traveling while sick or staying healthy while traveling? Passport Health can help. Call us at , or book an appointment now to get health recommendations, information, and vaccines.
Are you cancelling a trip due to COVID-19? Are you still planning on traveling? Let us know in the comments, or via Facebook and Twitter.
Written for Passport Health by Kaitlyn Luckow. Kaitlyn is a freelance writer, photographer and English teacher in Milwaukee. She has a passion for capturing and writing other people’s stories. You can find her at sayhellostory.com.