The ‘Tripledemic’ Holiday: How to Fly More Safely (Hint: Wear a Mask)

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The ‘Tripledemic’ Holiday: How to Fly More Safely (Hint: Wear a Mask)

Bernard Camins, the medical director for infection prevention at the Mount Sinai Health System, and Aaron Milstone, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, both said that it is “never too late” to get an updated Covid booster.

“Most data suggest that a full immune response to a vaccine dose can take 14 days, but some of our early data showed that people can generate an antibody response in a few days,” said Dr. Milstone. “You might be more protected in a few weeks, but there can be some benefit as soon as a few days after, so get an early holiday present by getting the boost.”

Dr. Camins said that because there isn’t great data on this aspect of boosters, it’s possible that the booster could reach efficacy before the 14-day mark. And, he said, with vaccines in plentiful supply it’s easy to get jabbed quickly. “If you make an appointment today it would work,” he said.

The experts suggest thinking about why you’re traveling and perhaps taking extra precautions. “We’re at the point where for most people these diseases are not a personal threat if you’re healthy. At the same time, at the holidays we’re often gathering with family, and visiting with more vulnerable people and older family members in particular,” said Dr. Marr.

Dr. Marr’s nuclear family will be spending the holidays with her elderly parents, so in an effort to minimize the chances of spreading any illness to them, her family unit will be taking more precautions, like not visiting crowded indoor spaces before their trip.

“We probably won’t go out to any restaurants in that week leading up to it just to make sure to minimize our chances of picking up a virus and bringing it to them,” she said.

The flu and seasonal respiratory viruses like R.S.V. are also spread more easily through contaminated items and hands, “so hand hygiene and cleaning/disinfection of high-touch surfaces is an important strategy,” Dr. Popescu said. “Also, a good reminder to avoid touching your face.”

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