Traveling for winter or spring break?
Many Binghamton University students, faculty and staff are looking forward to traveling during the winter and/or spring breaks, and over the summer. Travel planning should never be taken for granted, and it has been made more complicated with the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are five steps to follow to plan your safe travel:
1. TAKE ACTION BEFORE YOU LEAVE.
- Find out what vaccines, medicines or advice is needed for your destination and plan a visit with your doctor or a travel medicine specialist at least one month before you leave the United States.
- Get your flu shot at least two weeks before you travel, as it can take up to two weeks to be fully protected.
- Make sure you are up to date on the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. There are outbreaks of measles in popular destinations.
- Talk to your doctor about the hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines.
- Find out if your health insurance covers medical care abroad — many plans don’t!
- Prepare a travel health kit with the items you may need on your trip, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, insect repellent, sunscreen, alcohol-based hand sanitizer and condoms.
- Check the U.S. Department of State website for information on security risks and register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so the U.S. embassy or consulate can contact you in case of an emergency.
- International students and scholars should consult with the ISSS before planning international travel. It is also highly recommended for international students and scholars to consult with their own Embassy or Consulate before making travel plans.
2. USE AUTHORITATIVE SOURCES TO INFORM YOUR PLANS.
- World Health Organization (WHO) coronavirus information
- WHO travel advisories
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coronavirus information
- CDC coronavirus and travel advice
- CDC travel notices
- CDC FAQs for travelers
3. TAKE SIMPLE MEASURES TO STAY HEALTHY.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
It is not necessary that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
4. If YOU’RE NOT FEELING WELL AFTER YOUR TRIP
Call your doctor and explain where you have traveled, including where you went and what you did on your trip. This is especially important if you have been to an area where the spread of COVID-19 is widespread and sustained (see next).
5. IF YOU HAVE BEEN TO AN AREA WHERE THE COVID-19 VIRUS IS WIDESPREAD OR YOU WERE EXPOSED TO SOMEONE WITH THIS INFECTION, WATCH YOURSELF CAREFULLY FOR FEVER, COUGH OR DIFFICULTY BREATHING FOR 14 DAYS AFTER YOU RETURN. IF THESE SYMPTOMS OCCUR YOU SHOULD:
- Seek medical advice. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Explain your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Wear a mask when you go to seek medical help.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Do not travel on public transportation while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to avoid spreading the virus to others.
- Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
With good planning and some common sense action, you can have a safe and healthy break from Binghamton. Happy travels!