As more and more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine, families are allowing themselves to be optimistic about life after the pandemic. It’s important to remember that we are not quite there yet; we are still in the beginning steps, especially for our youngest children – and unfortunately infection rates are rising again in some parts of the country.
However, we understand many of us are traveling for the holidays to be with family for much needed rest and connection with those they love most. New Canaan Pediatrics is here to help with advice about staying vigilant to stay healthy.
- Remember to wear a clean mask when you are inside in public, even if you are vaccinated.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Wash your hands frequently and especially after being in the washroom, before you eat, and whenever possible to avoid spreading germs.
- If you are sick – with anything, not just COVID) – stay home.
Regardless of how you travel, you will likely stop to fill the car up with gas, have a meal, and use the bathroom. The number of these stops increases when traveling with children. Young children, regardless of vaccination status, have a habit of touching everything because of their endless curiosity, which isn’t helpful for these types of stops.
To make sure that you are minimizing risk of you and your kids getting sick, minimize the number of stops or layovers if at all possible. Travel with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. If bathroom stops are needed, use the disinfectant wipes to wipe down the surfaces that you touch (sink, door handle, grab bar, etc.), make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer when you get back in your car as an extra precaution.
When stopping for a meal, eating in your car or outside away from people is always safer than dining in a restaurant. The safest option, if your transportation method allows, is to bring your own food to eat or snack on and eat away from the crowds.
Concerning accommodations, the best option is to rent a single accommodation, such as a cabin or Airbnb, for you and members of your household. If you are staying with people outside of your household, make sure everyone who is eligible is vaccinated. According to the CDC, hotels can be a less safe option. If you need to stay in a hotel, be vigilant about standard precautions and use those wipes!
What to do if you are exposed
Even the most vigilant of people can become exposed to COVID. According to CDC Guidelines, illness exposure is defined as having close contact with someone, within 6 feet, for a total of 15 minutes within 24 hours. This can mean one 15-minute interaction, or three separate 5-minute interactions.
“Fully vaccinated” has been defined as reaching two weeks after the second dose has been administered. If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine after contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 unless you have symptoms. Exposed persons should wear a mask for a full 14 days, even at home with family. The CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people get tested 5-7 days after being exposed even if they do not have symptoms.
For anyone who is not yet fully vaccinated, quarantine guidelines to limit exposure and viral spread are more intense. When it has been confirmed that your child has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, call our New Canaan at 203-972-4250 for testing and isolation guidance.
If symptoms present themselves, call New Canaan and go in for another round of testing. If symptoms become severe, with a high fever (104°F) and labored breathing, make sure you seek medical attention at a hospital immediately.
Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a super spreader event. By making sure everyone who gathers is vaccinated and taking strict disinfecting and mask wearing precautions, your family will not only enjoy a delicious dinner, they can also fully enjoy loved ones and return home healthy and happy.
Are you traveling for the holidays and need some guidance or support? Please send us a message through your patient portal at newcanaanpedi.com. We will be happy to answer all your questions!