If you test positive for Covid, can you still travel?

As new variants of the coronavirus emerge in the United States, summer travelers are faced with a familiar and vexing question: How will the ever-mutating virus impact their travel plans?

Due to updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, answers may vary slightly from previous years.

Here’s what you need to know about traveling this summer if you’re worried about Covid-19 or think you might have it.

Recent CDC data shows Covid infections are rising or likely rising in more than 40 states. Hospitalizations and deaths, while low compared to peaks in previous years, are also rising.

The rise is linked to a handful of variants, called KP.2, KP.3 and LB.1, which now account for the majority of new cases.

At the same time, record numbers of people are expected to travel on July 4 and over the long weekend.

In short: it is best to postpone or cancel your trip.

If you have tested positive or are experiencing COVID symptoms, such as fever, chills, fatigue, cough, runny nose, muscle aches, and headache, the CDC recommends that you stay home and stay away from others.

According to the agency’s most recent guidelines, you should wait until you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours and your general symptoms improve before resuming normal activities, such as traveling.

In March, new CDC guidelines were issued that significantly changed the recommended isolation period for people with Covid.

The agency now says you can resume your daily activities if you meet two requirements: You have been fever-free for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and your symptoms are generally improving. Previously, the agency recommended isolating for at least five days, plus a period of precautionary measures after isolation.

Even after your isolation period, you can still spread the virus to others. That’s why the CDC recommends that you continue to take precautions for the next five days: wear masks, wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing, clean the air by opening or purifying windows, and continue to test yourself before gathering with others.

Travelers will no longer be required to show proof of Covid vaccination or take a Covid test to enter the US (this applies to both US citizens and non-US citizens).

The same goes for Europe and most other countries.

First of all, make sure you are up to date with your Covid vaccines.

Also remember to bring items that will be useful in case you become ill during your trip.

“Make sure you have a good first aid or medicine kit,” said Vicki Sowards, director of nursing resources for Passport Health, which provides medical travel services. Ms. Sowards recommended that your kit include medications you normally take when you’re sick, as well as Covid tests.

You may want to consider packing medications that can help with Covid symptoms, such as pain relievers, cold and flu medications, and antipyretics. Carrying electrolyte tablets (or Gatorade powder) can also help if you get sick.

Ms Sowards also suggested talking to your doctor before travelling, particularly if you are in a vulnerable or at-risk group. Some doctors may prescribe the antiviral drug Paxlovid as a precaution, she said, to take in the event of a Covid infection.

Wearing a mask on a plane or in crowded areas is still a good idea, Ms Sowards said. “Respiratory droplets are the main carrier of Covid, so protecting yourself is paramount, especially if you have a weakened immune system or chronic health conditions.”

If you do get sick, start by wearing a mask and taking over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for fever or joint pain, Ms. Sowards advised.

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