Travel Considerations for Chronic Disease Patients During COVID-19

Travel Considerations for Chronic Disease Patients During COVID-19

With the Holiday Season approaching and the economy slowly reopening, many people will resume traveling in the coming weeks.

For chronic disease patients, traveling always involves extra planning, and this year additional precautions are necessary due to COVID-19.  Check out the following travel considerations to stay safe.

General Travel Considerations

The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions warns that travel increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Therefore, at the moment, it’s advisable to limit travel as much as possible.

Chronic disease patients who are planning to travel in the coming weeks should follow these general precautions:

  • Avoid traveling if you are experiencing disease symptom flareups
  • Maintain physical distancing guidelines (at least 6-feet) when possible
  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. Patients should ask their doctors to recommend an appropriate hand sanitizer
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Use touchless payment when available
Travel Considerations for Chronic Disease Patients During COVID-19 Bus Travel

Safety Measures When Using Transportation

Precautions vary depending on the type of transportation used by travelers.

Public Transit

In addition to the considerations listed above, chronic disease patients are advised to:

  • Limit as much as possible, coming into contact with highly touched surface areas including, touchscreens, ticket machines, handrails, elevator buttons, restroom surfaces, tables, and benches
  • Avoid crowded areas at stations and stops

Rideshare, Taxi, and Shuttles

Autoimmune chronic disease patients need to be careful when sharing rides with people who do not live with them, as this could increase their risk of contracting COVID-19.

Patients should decline to ride with drivers or other passengers who are not wearing a mask or not properly wearing one.

Additionally, chronic disease patients should ask drivers to improve the ventilation inside the vehicle by opening windows or setting the air conditioning on the non-recirculation mode.

Air Travel

Although the risk of contracting COVID-19 during air travel may be lower due to the HEPA air filters in the plane, patients still must stand in line at crowded airports. Additionally, physical distancing can be difficult.

Moreover, most commercial planes now travel at much higher altitudes and with decreased oxygen levels in the cabin. This is especially worrisome for patients with chronic respiratory illnesses. These patients should speak to their doctors to get clearance for air travel beforehand.

Patients traveling by air should contact the airline to inquire about physical distancing measures inside the plane. The best course of action is to provide the airline with their physician’s written recommendations when requesting special accommodations due to their conditions.

Travel Considerations for Chronic Disease Patients During COVID-19 air travel

Trains and Subways

Recent studies from Europe and Asia suggest trains and subways are safe forms of transport. Rail companies are undertaking significant efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

However, travelers still need to take precautions, including keeping an adequate distance from other passengers, wearing face coverings, and washing their hands.

Amtrak recently announced the addition of a real-time “Capacity Indicator” to its website, which allows users to see how full a train is. This is an excellent way for chronic disease patients to avoid over-crowded train rides.


Traveling Overseas

Those patients who are planning to travel to a foreign country should undertake a risk assessment before traveling.

Before deciding to travel, patients should look into the rate at which COVID-19 is spreading at their destination or whether their destination has any restrictions on the passengers’ country of origin.

Patients with chronic illnesses should research nearby medical facilities and healthcare providers in the country they are traveling to in case of an emergency. Additionally, they should speak to their insurance company about healthcare coverage abroad.


Chronic diseases should not keep people from enjoying travel. At Altus Biologics, we believe that improving patients’ quality of life is crucial for any disease management plan. Traveling can offer patients an excellent opportunity to relax and enjoy life to the fullest.

Travel Considerations for Chronic Disease Patients During COVID-19 train station
You might also like