PERHAPS APPLICABLE TO PEOPLE WORLDWIDE, THE FOLLOWING PSA IS INTENDED TO INCREASE OUR PATIENTS’ WELL-BEING AND PIECE OF MIND ON THE TOPIC OF HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES AND TO MAKE THEIR TRAVEL DECISIONS EASIER.  OUR HOPE IS THAT YOUR DECISIONS TURN OUT TO BE THE ABSOLUTE BEST FOR YOU, YOUR FAMILY, CO-WORKERS AND FRIENDS.  NOTHING IN THIS DOCUMENT IS INTENDED AS A REPLACEMENT FOR YOUR DOCTOR’S ADVICE AND NOTHING IN THIS DOCUMENT IS INTENDED AS A REPLACEMENT FOR MEDICAL CARE.  NOTHING IN THIS DOCUMENT HAS BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FDA OR CDC, FOR BETTER OR WORSE.

At the least this is a controversial topic…at the worst it may be a point of contention between family members during the holidays:  should a person travel or not?  And, if a person chooses to travel, what is the safest route?

As we experience this worldwide pandemic with various holidays looming large in people’s minds, this is a question that any person–given very unique situations and life circumstances–might best answer for themselves independently….hopefully while in communication with involved family members!  How’s that for a tightrope?

We have spoken with ER doctors, epidemiologists, travel experts (one who stated contracting the virus on an airplane is less likely than being struck by lightning), immuno-compromised people who have needed to travel for reasons such as work, patients who are extremely concerned about stepping out of their house for weeks now (much less going to an airport to board an airplane), patients who believe the pandemic is a hoax.  After all of this opinion-gathering, we are convinced of one truth:  literally EVERYONE holds at least a slightly differing viewpoint on basically any topic related to the coronavirus!  Which is one indication of the significant impact this novel virus is having on the entire planet.  It seems much of the stress many people might experience comes from the understandable and significant uncertainty of life in a pandemic.  Our hope is to help offer some information that you will find useful as you make your way through this pandemic in your work and personal life.

Regardless of any viewpoint held by any rational human being, we are compelled to encourage people as a basic approach to this planet-wide phenomena:  HAVE THE BODY’S IMMUNE SYSTEM FUNCTIONING AS WELL AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE.  Take steps to boost your immunity.  Believe in the coronavirus or not.  Travel or not.  Choose to spend time with family or not.

On to the topic of the choice to travel or not and the “risk/reward” factor:

These not-fun decisions people are making regarding travel could be finalized based on the concept of “risk/reward”.  Example:  “is the risk of traveling to another state or country to see my new grandson worth the reward of meeting him in person?”  NOT EASY DECISIONS IN ALL CASES!  Often close-to-the-heart decisions.  Really tough decisions for some.  Ultimately, after collecting as much information as possible and then openly talking to every person involved before, during and after the travel in question, a decision can be made more easily by weighing the risks and rewards, considering one’s age, etc.  Once a decision is made, you could allow yourself and others to change their mind entirely at any point along the way and letting that be ok without strings attached.  If there is any one point of likely human evolution occurring during this pandemic, it is most certainly the increased ability to be FLEXIBLE!  As an example of this, parents who have kids in and out of school and quarantine know exactly how they themselves are evolving in this area!

Health and immunity:

First of all, of course, one needs to consider one’s own health and immunity when considering a decision to travel.  Then, one needs to obviously consider the health and immunity of the people one may be traveling with.  And for certain one needs to consider the health and immunity of those one is planning to visit and be in close quarters with both before and AFTER the trip.

If you have chosen to travel, what steps to take before and after your trip:

If a decision to travel is made, one epidemiologist recommended that travelers might consider a quarantine prior to seeing those you are visiting in for example, a separate guest house, etc. and then a quarantine upon return home.  Obviously, getting tested for the virus after a possible “viral load build-up” time period after possible exposure to the virus may be advisable, prior to seeing those people you are traveling to and prior to seeing those poeple you are going to be in contact with upon return.  Please refer to the CDC website for more data on this topic.

If you have chosen to travel, now….how to get there:

Another epidemiologist stated that possibly traveling by automobile is safer–although perhaps not as quick or convenient–than traveling by airplane.  However, one could consider the aforementioned statement regarding airplane safety and consider that a longer drive may expose one to a greater number of people at gas stations, hotels, rest stops, etc.

You’ve chosen to travel, now….some effective steps to take to protect yourself and those around you:

1. Apparently one key preventive step is to wear an appropriate 5-ply mask (such as a so-called KN95 mask), WELL-FITTED to your face with a cloth/fabric mask fitted over the 5-ply mask. One study indicates the best material for the outer mask might be silk or chiffon. It’s also apparently important to not touch the masks themselves during or after usage.  So, remove by the straps only and try not to continuously adjust the masks if possible.  (To learn more about research done on the material of the outer mask, please visit this link:  https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/science-homemade-coronavirus-masks-recipe)

Please refer to the CDC and WHO websites for proper mask usage, etc.

2. Take a few pairs of disposable exam gloves with you.

3. Take along a travel size sanitizer and sanitizer wipes.

4. Wipe down the surfaces around you on a plane with sanitizer before, and maybe even after, you sit down. It is likely a good idea to at least use gloves in airplane and airport bathrooms, if not through the entire time, dependent on your level of concern.

5. TO KEEP YOUR OWN IMMUNE SYSTEM DOING GREAT IN TRANSIT:

• Use ‘Gan Mao Ling’ (English: “common cold tablets”) 3 tablets 2x/day for 2 days before and after flights. This combination of Chinese herbs boosts the immune system and is said to fight radiation exposure at high altitudes.

• Drink at least 1/2 to 3/4 your body weight in ounces the day before and day of your flight. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs., drink 100-150 ounces of water in the 12 hours before your flight. Eat regular meals with good ratios of protein and carbohydrates.

• Take electrolytes which hydrate the body very efficiently the days leading up to and after a flight.

Happy trails!  Or happy home holidays!  Either way, enjoy it, treat yourself to some fun!

Want to know more about general immune function, how the immune system works and how to build immunity?  Stay tuned for upcoming blogs or feel free to read sections on immunity in the book at this link:  https://www.amazon.com/Oriental-Medicine-You-500-year-old-Understandable/dp/0615456367