How can I avoid contracting COVID before a vacation? When am I the most vulnerable? How far in advance should I start planning?

If you have a holiday or a big event coming up, the risk of contracting COVID-19 may be on your mind more than normal.

According to experts, there are lifestyle adjustments you can make to your everyday routine that will help you prevent getting sick before an event, and they are more than just donning a mask and washing your hands.

So, what can you do to lower your chances of contracting COVID, and how far in advance should you take extra precautions?

What are the time periods in which you are most vulnerable?

COVID-19 symptoms usually appear five days after infection, however, it might take up to 14 days.

Dr. Ash Porter, a research officer at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne, says your risk of contracting COVID is substantially higher in poorly ventilated settings and if you spend more time with an infected person.

“People who are pre-symptomatic, asymptomatic, or symptomatic can transmit SARS-CoV-2, so even if they don’t appear sick, they could be contagious,” Dr. Porter explains.

“Despite little data, it appears that infected patients are most infectious just before symptoms manifest and throughout the early stages of their illness.”

So, while two weeks may seem like a long time, taking extra steps two weeks ahead of your plans may help minimize your risk, but there’s no assurance you won’t catch COVID.

Making changes in lifestyle

Certain decisions, according to Dr. Porter, may affect your chances of contracting COVID-19.

“Common spreading events involve people congregating indoors and talking, singing, or breathing loudly, such as offices, restaurants, fitness and exercise classes, or places of worship,” they explain.

“Your danger is substantially larger in poorly ventilated areas and when you spend more time with an infected person.”

However, certain lifestyle choices are riskier than others.

Changing your daily routine

If you can’t avoid public places, such as taking the subway or bringing your child to childcare, Dr. Porter says you can still attempt to reduce your risk.

“Public transportation can be crowded and inadequately ventilated; wear a mask and wash your hands frequently,” Dr. Porter advises.

“If possible, travel at off-peak hours to make public transportation a safer option.”

They claim that close contact with children is common in childcare.

“Choosing childcare with more outside time or that is well-ventilated is a safer option.”

“If possible, avoiding daycare is also a safer option.”

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