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Tips for Traveling With Mesothelioma During COVID-19

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on June 15, 2020

Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases put you at high risk for the coronavirus. Patients who are immunocompromised, such as those with cancer, are especially at risk for life-threatening complications from COVID-19. People with conditions that weaken the lungs, including mesothelioma, are at the highest risk. As nonessential businesses start to reopen and travel opportunities present themselves, it is imperative to continue keeping yourself safe from possible sources of coronavirus transmission. Use a few important safety tips if you have to travel during COVID-19.

Talk To Your Doctor

First, get permission to travel from your mesothelioma specialist. Your doctor may need you to postpone travel, for instance, if you have a scheduled medical procedure that will overlap with your trip. Learn about COVID-19 in your destination city. Check for virus statistics as well as any related regulations you need to know, such as social distancing requirements. Ask your doctor whether it is safe for you to travel. Follow your doctor’s advice, even if he or she suggests that you wait longer to travel.

Avoid Crowded Or Cramped Areas

If you have to travel for work or other responsibilities at the beginning of reopening, avoid crowded or cramped spaces with other people. Do your best to maintain social distancing. Avoid flying, for example, as this could put you in close quarters with someone who has been in contact with the virus. No mask or other personal protection equipment can keep you completely safe from contagions. A mask does not protect your eyes, for example, which can be entryways for airborne pathogens.

The best way to avoid catching the virus is by isolating yourself from others, even as businesses start to reopen. Stay home and limit your contact with other people as much as possible. If you cannot avoid traveling, do so in a vehicle with only yourself or the people you have been isolated with during COVID-19. Do your best to avoid planes, buses, trains and other modes of travel that can make it difficult to stay safely at least six feet away from other people.

Wear The Right Mask

If you must fly, wear a mask. Most airlines that are operating amid COVID-19 have new regulations in place requiring all passengers to wear face masks for the duration of their flights. As someone who is immunocompromised, however, you should not wear just any face mask. Standard surgical masks or homemade versions may help protect others from catching the coronavirus from you, but they are generally not thought to stop the transmission of infectious diseases to you from others.

It is very important to invest in the right type of mask if you have to travel as things start to reopen. Protect yourself from contagions by wearing an N95 respirator mask, if possible. If you have trouble breathing because of mesothelioma, you may have to wear a lighter mask instead, as the N95 can make it more difficult to breathe. Do your best to stay at least six feet away from all other passengers and people at the airport if you are flying. Explain your situation to a flight attendant so he or she can arrange the best seat for you.

Wash Your Hands Frequently

Washing your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap can reduce your risk of catching the coronavirus. While antibacterial solutions such as hand sanitizers can kill germs, they do not replace handwashing in terms of safety. Run your hands under warm water and scrub with soap for at least 20 seconds as often as possible – especially before and after eating. Do your best to avoid touching your nose, mouth or face while traveling. Clean and disinfect the surfaces around you. Good personal hygiene can reduce your risk of contracting the virus.

Other tips for traveling with mesothelioma during COVID-19 include getting your vaccinations, taking all mesothelioma-related medications with you, packing a doctor’s note explaining your medical condition, bringing your own snacks and beverages, maintaining healthy habits such as exercising regularly, and avoiding anyone who has experienced symptoms of coronavirus in the last two weeks. Always talk to your doctor before traveling as a mesothelioma patient.

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