Avera Medical Minute: Planning a vacation during the pandemic

Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 10:53 AM CDT
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Erik Thorstenson: "It's vacation season, but we're still in the pandemic. What should families be aware of before going on vacation?"

Dr. Jennifer McKay: "The risk hasn't gone away. We're not sure what's going to happen. And we're curious if there are going to be some resurgences in the infections and in the number of people testing positive. So just know that if you are going to travel you're not going to have no risk of doing it and you'll have to think about those things."

Erik: Is there a good distance rule? I mean how far should people travel?

Dr. McKay: "You know I think this is a really great opportunity to use your local resources as a way to really support your vacation. We're really lucky in this part of the country to have a lot of outdoor activities. And the good news is that vitamin D actually has a protective effect on how sick you become with COVID, so that's an advantage. So i'd say stick to local outdoor things."

Erik: You know businesses have opened again. There are recreation activities again. But what should families do to keep themselves safe?

Dr. McKay: "You know i think this is another great reason to be in South Dakota. We have a lot of ethanol plants who are now compounding hand sanitizer. So I'd say go buy some of that and make sure you take it with you. Most of the risks that you are going to encounter when you have either to do stops or used shared restrooms or are in public spaces. We know that hand washing is a major protection over transmission of this illness. And so if you carry those things with you and be smart about it, wash your hands after you use the restroom and before you eat. Then you're going to be really able to mitigate the risk quite a bit."

Erik: You shouldn't cancel your vacation, but what should people do kind of break things up during this quarantine routine they've kind of developed?

Dr. McKay: "Well this a great summer to do a Route 66 type trip. So there's lots of state parks, lots of road trips. You can still consider flying by the airplane, but you should definitely wear a face mask when you travel. Make sure you have enough hand sanitizer. and then when you are out and about we are recommending masking."

Erik: it's still kind of a stressful time. What should you tell your kids to help of ease that stress?

Dr. McKay: "You know I think the best thing is to kind of be factual if you can and teach then what they have control over. Certainly you don't want to do risky things like going into large crowds necessarily. But doing smart things where you are going where there aren't tons of people is appropriate. i think the other piece is what can you do in your own backyard that's really fun. I think a lot of kids would like to be outside camping. That's a good South Dakota summertime activity."

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