As the COVID-19 vaccine rate continues to rise, families are beginning to look with hope at the post-pandemic future. While optimism comes with getting vaccinated, it’s important to remember that infections are rising again in some parts of the country and our littlest ones are still vulnerable.
Bay Street Pediatrics understands that many of us are traveling for the holidays to be with family for after being vigilant about isolation for nearly two years now. We are here to help with advice about staying healthy as you take this step to normal holidays once again.
- Wear a clean mask when you are inside in public, even if you are vaccinated.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Wash your hands frequently, but especially after being in the washroom, before you handle food, before you eat, after hugging or handshaking, and after being in a public space, touching door handles, grocery carts and more.
- If you do not feel completely heatlhy, stay home.
Regardless of how you travel, you will be in public spaces; in an airport, to fill the car’s gas tank, have a meal, or use the bathroom. The number of these stops increases when traveling with children. Young children, regardless of vaccination status, will touch everything because of their endless curiosity, which can make these stops fraught with anxiety.
Minimize the risk of you and your kids getting sick by minimizing the number of stops or layovers if at all possible. Travel with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. If bathroom breaks are needed, use disinfectant wipes to wipe down any surfaces that you touch – arm rests or tray tables in an airplane, sinks, door handles and more. Wash hands thoroughly and then use alcohol-based 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. If your transportation method allows, it’s safest to bring your own food to eat away from the crowds.
The best option for overnight stays 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. you need to stay in a hotel, be vigilant about standard precautions and wipe down everything in the bathroom and bedroom areas.
What to do if you are exposed
Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, your family may be 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 are more stringent to ensure that the virus does not spread. When it has been confirmed that your child has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, call Bay Street Pediatrics at 203-227-3674for testing and isolation guidance.
If symptoms present themselves, call Bay Street and go in for another round of testing. If symptoms become severe, with a high fever (104°F) and labored breathing, seek medical attention at a hospital immediately.
Your family can enjoy a happier Thanksgiving this year. By making sure everyone who gathers is vaccinated and taking strict disinfecting and mask wearing precautions, your family can enjoy beloved family and friends and still return home in good health.
Are you traveling for the holidays and need some guidance or support? Please send a message through your patient portal at baystreetpediatrics.com. We will be happy to answer all your questions!