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Traveling for spring break? CDC has tips on staying safe amid COVID-19 concerns

Passenger on Chinese flight arrested after opening emergency exit
Posted at 6:33 AM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 08:25:04-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hasn't suggested people stop traveling all together amid COVID-19 concerns but the agency does have considerations to think about to help make your decision.

Travel has been restricted around the world to slow the spread of the virus and it's important to look at where you're traveling to. If it's a destination where COVID-19 is spreading, there's a higher risk of coming into contact with it.

Have a plan about what you'll need to do if you do come into contact. You may have to self-quarantine for up to 14 days after traveling, keeping you away from work and school.

The virus can be much harder on older adults or anyone with a severe chronic health condition, so if you live with them, it's something to consider. Think about who you're traveling with and if they could be going to crowded places or public events like conferences or concerts. It may make you more likely to contract the illness.

It's also a good idea to reconsider travel if you yourself have a higher risk of getting really sick if you were to contract COVID-19.

Right now, the CDC is recommending anyone who's older or has serious medical conditions to avoid nonessential air travel and cruises. If COVID-19 is spreading in your area, try to avoid contact with anyone who is at a high risk of getting seriously sick, especially if you're exhibiting any symptoms.

Remember, your symptoms could be mild and even if you don’t have a fever, there is a chance you are infectious. If you do decide to travel, wash your hands well and often and try to avoid touching your face.

The CDC has more information on its website.

The Transportation Safety Administration wants to ease anyone's mind on what they can bring with them on the plane. Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes are all clear to bring. You can also wear a face mask and bring them along with you if that makes you feel more comfortable.

✅ hand sanitizer
✅ disinfecting wipes
✅ face masks
✅ and remember, you can ask our officers to change gloves
More info at https://t.co/tDqzZdAFR1 pic.twitter.com/QVdg3TEfyo

— TSA (@TSA) March 12, 2020

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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.

Prevention

The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.