Tips for Using COVID-19 Testing to Plan a Safe Travel
Let’s face it – the coronavirus lockdown has made everyone tired and eager to go on a holiday. People have not been able to meet friends and relatives for long and want to see them on priority. However, on the other hand, COVID-19 cases are rising and holding everyone back from roaming freely. In such a condition, doctors are thinking a lot about whether COVID testing will help people decide if it’s safe to see their dear ones. Here are a doctor’s thoughts on what factors to remember while using COVID test to plan your vacations safely.
Timing is Important
You might know that there are two types of COVID tests: Antibody tests and Diagnostic tests. Diagnostic tests are again of 2 types, viz. Molecular Testing (or PCR or RNA tests) and Antigen Testing (or Rapid Testing). All these tests have their own pros and cons. While rapid testing is quicker and cheaper, it’s less accurate than the PCR tests.
Irrespective of which test you use, the results are perfect only for the moment you are tested and reveal the test’s ability to detect the virus. This means a negative test result doesn’t protect you from getting infected the next day. Neither does a negative test endorse that you haven’t come in contact with the virus. The time between getting exposed to the virus and starting to shed infectious virus particles varies anywhere from 2 to 14 days. Thus, you may get exposed today, test negative the next day and then get infected in a few days after that.
Moreover, you may even spread the virus before showing symptoms or even if you never show any symptoms at all.
How to Minimize Risk
Firstly if you show any symptoms, stay home. In case of no symptoms, you can think of traveling.
It’s safest to strictly self-quarantine for 14 days before the travel. Testing may provide a useful data point; however, quarantine is a more guaranteed alternative.
If quarantining for full 14 days is not possible for you, the next safest thing is to restrict possible virus exposure, isolate as much and as long as you can before starting the travel, and get tested at a reputable facility e.g. 107 Harley Street.
Talk to People
Maintaining hygiene is not only your responsibility, but it’s of others too. Only one infected person can cause an outbreak. Talk to the people you’re visiting about the precautions they’re taking and the chances of social distancing during your visit.
Lockdown has been hard on everyone. Everyone is longing to meet others without any worries. But still it’s better to be safe than sorry. Take all precautions, get tested, maintain hygiene and travel only if necessary. Only then, a day will come when you can travel comfortably with no fear in mind.