Travel for Seniors During COVID-19 Variant: Is It Safe for the Elderly to Fly?

Are you a senior who's wondering if it's safe to travel while a COVID-19 variant is emerging? We offer some tips on how to fly safely.  

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With traveling becoming possible again, our staff at COVID Travel Test are aware that many people are hesitant to hop on a plane out of fear of contracting COVID-19. This is especially the case for individuals who are elderly or immunocompromised. 

While anyone can contract COVID-19, seniors are at higher risk of experiencing severe infection. Consequently, they've needed to take extra precautions throughout the last two years. 

Fortunately, in 2022 the status of the pandemic has been improving on a daily basis. However, some may still be weary of booking flights to fly off to sunny destinations. 

If you're a senior, or you care for one, you'll want to read this post because we're explaining the factors seniors should consider when planning to spend time in airports and on airplanes. 

We'll share tips on:

  • Practicing good hygiene
  • What to keep in mind before and after your flight 
  • Cleaning your personal space on a flight 
  • Upgrading flights 
  • Social distancing 
  • Offsetting low humidity 
  • Getting vaccinated

Let's take a closer look at each of these aspects of air travel.

Practicing Good Hygiene 

Early in the pandemic, much public messaging focusing on maintaining good hygiene, and for good reason: respiratory illnesses like Covid-19 typically spread when people cough or sneeze and expel droplets of mucus or saliva that come in contact with others. 

Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose with unwashed hands as these are hot spots for viruses to enter the body. Clean your hands after using elevators and holding handrails, or traveling on taxis or buses. 

Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is your best defense. Use a hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, but beware it can dry out your skin. 

What to Remember Before & After Your Flight 

While flying is usually safe, you'll want to research any travel restrictions that your destination may be under and any connecting flights or stops along the way. Masks may be mandatory at some destinations and venues. 

Traveling internationally? Remember: you'll typically need proof of a negative PCR test to enter most countries. Some locales may also require proof of full vaccination. You may be asked to quarantine if you're not fully vaccinated. Confirm that you have a negative result for the COVID-19 test you'll need before traveling. 

Whether you're booking a flight for yourself or a senior in your life, check the travel requirements of the destination (particularly one month before your expected travel date), since they might have changed with time. To travel to some countries, you'll need health insurance to cover any Covid-19 expenses that may arise. 

Clean Your Personal Space on Your Flight 

While many airlines are spending extra time to clean the passenger areas of their planes, there's no guarantee that every surface will be as thoroughly cleaned as you'd like. 

Stock up on antibacterial wipes to clean your seat armrest, headrest, window blind, seat-back pocket, seat touch screen, and air vent. 

Remember to also wipe down high-touch surfaces such as door handles and remote controls in hotel rooms. 

Upgrade Your Flight

Check into your travel policy to find out whether you can upgrade to first class or business travel to allow yourself a small buffer of extra personal space between yourself and other passengers, in addition to potentially less contact with other individuals during your flight. 

Socially Distance

If you spend 10 minutes or more within 6 feet of an infected person, you have been exposed to COVID-19, according to experts. While the World Health Organization defines contact on an aircraft as being seated within two rows of one another. However, also keep in mind that passengers are walking around on an airplane and touching many surfaces. 

Offset Low Humidity

The mucous membranes in our eyes, nose and mouth can become dried out, making them more susceptible entry points for viruses. This is why some frequent flyers always have nasal sprays on hand to clean out and moisturize the nose. 

You may also choose to drink more water to compensate for the cabin dryness. However, some new models of aircraft feature technology that accounts for higher levels of humidity. 

Get Vaccinated

Check your eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine and schedule your Antigen Test or RT-PCR test before you travel, and take the correct one for your circumstances. 

Review Current Infection Rates

One country's COVID-19 situation will probably differ significantly from others. While you may find that successful public health policies have meant some countries have relaxed their rules, others are on guard as they head into a predicted fifth wave. 

You can get an accurate snapshot of your destination's current COVID-19 status by reviewing infection data. They can also help predict whether any new travel restrictions will likely be implemented. Plus, the lower the infection rate, the lower your risk of contracting COVID-19 while you're trying to enjoy a well-earned vacation.

Wear a Mask When Taking Federal Transportation in Canada

Regardless of their vaccination status, adults and children must wear a mask when on modes of transportation that's regulated by the federal government, such as planes and trains. Fully vaccinated adults and children are not expected to wear a mask in public areas during the first 14 days after they arrive in Canada. 

To learn more about how seniors can travel safely or to schedule your COVID-19 test prior to traveling, contact a COVID Travel Test location near you.

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Whether you're traveling, or require an asymptomatic COVID test, visit COVID Travel Test at one of our two convenient locations today.