Is it Safe to Travel This Thanksgiving? Houston Emergency Room Physician Provides Answers to Keep Your Family Safe During COVID Pandemic

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We know you have questions about traveling to visit friends and family during this Thanksgiving holiday. SignatureCare Emergency Center ER physician answers your questions and outlines ways to keep your loved ones safe

SignatureCare Emergency Center
Yes, travel definitely increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. There is always a risk of contracting COVID and several other infectious diseases when interacting with anyone, however, the goal is to minimize the risk of becoming infected.

As Americans head home to see friends and family this Thanksgiving holiday, the #1 question we get asked every day is whether it is safe to fly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, board-certified emergency room physician, Dr. Shelise Edwards, is providing answers to these and many other questions.

She said that while traveling may increase the chances of getting and spreading COVID-19, there are simple steps we can take to minimize the risks.

“Yes, travel definitely increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. There is always a risk of contracting COVID and several other infectious diseases when interacting with anyone, however, the goal is to minimize the risk of becoming infected,” Dr. Edwards said earlier this week.

She added that measures such as wearing face masks appropriately (covering both mouth and nose), social distancing and frequent handwashing, will significantly limit your risk of contracting COVID.

Dr. Edwards is a Houston, TX-based board-certified emergency room physician. She currently works with SignatureCare Emergency Center as the Regional Medical Director for the Houston region.

Dr. Edwards said each person should perform research to determine if COVID is currently spreading in their local community or their intended destination.

“Perform research to determine if COVID is spreading in your local area or your final destination. If you are traveling to visit family or friends, consider if you or your loved ones are more likely to become extremely ill if you all do contract the virus,” she said.

She added that individuals with increased risk of contracting COVID should consider postponing non-essential travels to regions with high COVID infection rates to avoid falling ill due to the pandemic.

On whether it is safe to travel by air during the pandemic, Dr. Edwards said air travelers may be especially susceptible to COVID.

“Traveling by air definitely puts one at higher risk for contracting and spreading viruses (including COVID-19) and other germs, especially if you travel during high peak travel times. The reason being, you may be required to wait in security lines and at airport gates for a prolonged period of time, which would undoubtedly put you in closer contact with non-household members,” she said.

“You are also more likely to come in contact with multiple surfaces that have been touched by a number of individuals and not sanitized. The good news is, most viruses do not easily spread on airplanes because the air is filtered and well circulated.

“Unfortunately, there is a catch. Social distancing is nearly impossible on a full flight. Some airlines have taken the steps of limiting flight capacity as well as leaving middle seats vacant. But, even with these limitations, you will likely be seated less than 6 feet from other passengers, sometimes for several hours,” she continued.

Dr. Edwards said that individuals considered to be at higher risk of developing complications from COVID include, but are not limited to, those that are elderly, have chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes, those with cancer, marked obesity, weak immune systems, and smokers.

About SignatureCare Emergency Center

SignatureCare Emergency Center owns and manages the fastest growing group of 24-hour emergency rooms throughout Texas. We currently have ERs in Houston (Houston Heights, Montrose, Copperfield, Memorial City, Westchase, Bellaire, Mission Bend/Sugar Land, and Cypress/FM 1960), Stafford, Killeen, Pflugerville, Lewisville, Austin, College Station, Midland, Paris, Odessa and Texarkana.

Our newest emergency room location in Atascocita, Humble, TX is due to open in the next few weeks.
Go to our website, ercare24.com for more information.

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