Travelling During Covid for Diabetics! What to do?

COVID-19 traveling during Holidays for Diabetics

With  Thanksgiving right around the corner, and Christmas just about a month away, many of my diabetic patients ask whether it is safe to be traveling during COVID  aka coronavirus for diabetics, or is it okay to visit family or gather for the holidays? So we will talk about travel and celebrations during the COVID pandemic!

As you know, diabetes and other chronic diseases are significant risk factors increasing the risk of death from COVID. You may not be a high-risk individual, but if you do not take the necessary measures you may cause someone else’s death. If that person is someone in your family, that is even more tragic. Diabetic patients are to take extra measures to protect themselves.

Dr. Ergin SugarMD writes about diabetes weekly
Dr. Ergin SugarMD writes about diabetes weekly

Now, by the way, even if you survived, you will feel sick, very sick. If you want to be sick during or after thanksgiving or Christmas go ahead and dive your nose into COVID-infested air.

Well.. many factors contribute to the risk of getting infected during Travel by COVID 19 or infecting others with the coronavirus while traveling during COVID. It’s important to keep these in mind when thinking ahead for the holidays.

 

Here are the things to know about Travel during COVID 19 for diabetics

covid travel

Covid travel

Traveling during COVID DOES increase the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19, especially for diabetics. Staying home is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others. But if you do decide to travel, here are some tips.

  • WEAR A MASK! Make sure your mouth and nose are covered when in public spaces.
  • Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from anyone not in your household.
  • Wash your hand and use hand sanitizer frequently. A good way to ensure a proper hand wash is to sing a song like Happy Birthday…in your head of course, otherwise, that may be weird. Try not to touch your face.

After your gathering, take extra precautions for 14 days to avoid spreading if you may have been exposed to COVID.

Also, disinfect the area where the gathering took place. Get tested if you’re worried you may have been exposed.

If you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, or if you test positive for COVID-19, immediately contact the host and others that attended the gathering that you attended.

What other things to pay attention to?

Now your local community levels of COVID-19? Do you know?

It’s important to know the levels of COVID-19 cases in the gathering location. You can find up to date information on sites from the local county health department websites.

Why? Because where your friends and family are coming from can determine the risk of infection and spread. So, you should consider the number of COVID-19 cases in your community and in the community where you plan to celebrate the thanksgiving or Christmas.

  • Indoor or Outdoor? Indoor gatherings pose more of a risk than outdoor gatherings. Is that true? Really?
  • Does that mean outdoor gathering poses no risk? Remember the recent White House gathering that was outdoors? Even with it being outdoors, COVID spread like butter on toast. So yes outdoor is better but not totally safe. Get it?
  • The number of people together matters. More people equal greater risk. The CDC currently doesn’t have a specific number recommended for gatherings. But common sense says if you do get together, limit the total number of people.
  • What have family and friends done recently?

Here are the questions to ask while traveling during COVID:

  1. Did someone or you attend a recent gathering?
  2. Did that someone do any recent traveling?
  3. Did he/she have contact with large groups of people?
  4. We all have that one friend or family member who seems to be the extrovert, social butterfly type. Declare a no butterfly zone!

Behavior during the gathering. The attitude for diabetics!

  • Wearing a mask on a holiday isn’t ideal, actually, it sucks!
  • Try an “Ugly Mask” contest this year instead of the “Ugly Sweater”.
  • Distancing with family members could seem offensive or strange but we are living in a strange time right now.
  • Remember to have hand sanitizers around and wash hands frequently. The family acquired COVID is still COVID.

Who shouldn’t be attending in person holiday gatherings during COVID?

  • This is a no-brainer…people with COVID, recently had COVID or have been exposed to COVID.
  • People who may have symptoms of COVID.
  • People who have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID such as diabetic patients. This includes people with a weakened immune system or chronic disease.

If you want to host a holiday gathering during COVID, here are some tips:

  • Especially if there are diabetics in your household try to host the celebration outdoors vs. indoors. Oh yeah! Thanksgiving Barbeque! But if you decide to host indoors, keep windows open for proper ventilation.
  • Try to limit the gathering to local friends and family to reduce Travel and possibly people coming from higher risk areas.
  • Make it a VIP holiday gathering. Try to limit your guest list as much as possible. It’s the perfect excuse to not invite that cousin or in-law you just can’t stand.
  • Another suggestion is to encourage people to attend your holiday to not celebrate somewhere else prior to your gathering. This limits exposure to risk.
  • Do Not host a buffet-style meal. Try and have one person serve the food on individual plates. This avoids large crowds near the food. Make sure the person serving is wearing a mask while they are doing it!
  • You could always try to host a non-traditional holiday celebration like a virtual dinner.
  • When shopping for food to prepare for your gathering get groceries delivered.

Thank you for reading this article and I hope you all stay safe and happy during the holidays.

AHMET ERGIN, MD, FACE, CDCES, ECNU
ENDOCRINOLOGIST

2260 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd. Ste 212 Unit #7

West Palm Beach Florida

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