March 14, 2023

Staying up to date on vaccines key to a healthy spring break

Madison, Wis. – Spring break season is underway, and a UW Health expert is offering health reminders before friends and family begin to travel.

To ensure the healthiest spring break possible it is important to be up to date on all vaccinations, according to Dr. Jeff Pothof, chief quality officer and emergency medicine physician, UW Health, and associate professor of emergency medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

“We are in a much better place in the pandemic, so more people are traveling again,” he said. “There are many diseases that might not be common in the United States but are common in other countries that can be prevented by routine vaccinations, which is especially important to keep in mind if traveling internationally.”

In addition to staying up to date on routine vaccinations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends checking the travel requirements and recommendations for one’s spring break destination. It is also important to understand health care access at one’s destination, he said.

“Not all countries have access to the same COVID-19 treatments we have, for example, so it is important to plan ahead and think about access to medical care in the area you are traveling,” Pothof said.

The CDC also recommends wearing a mask in high-traffic areas like buses or airports as an extra precaution while traveling and washing hands often or using hand sanitizer.

“I would recommend carrying hand sanitizer with you, especially for children, because there are a lot of surfaces being touched during travel which increases the risk of spreading germs,” he said.

It’s also important to not travel if one is sick or experiencing symptoms of illness, he said.

“I think a lesson learned from the pandemic is no one wants to be the one that makes other people sick,” he said. “Spring break is a fun time, but if you are sick or test positive for COVID-19 you need to say home and not get others sick.”