Episode 33: Talking Pandemic Travel With Dr. Yvette McQueen
In this episode, we talk with Dr. Yvette McQueen who is a Traveling Emergency Room Doctor, about traveling during the pandemic.
Dr. Yvette McQueen
Dr. McQueen is a global physician on a mission to educate about health, travel wellness and disease prevention. She is an Emergency Medicine physician and Travel Doctor; working as a physician across the U.S. and the Caribbean.
Dr. McQueen also serves as a travel group physician ensuring healthy and safe travel of the clients before and during their international trip. Dr. McQueen is a best seller author, speaker, blogger, consultant, CPR and First Aid instructor; wilderness emergency care training and international teaching for the American Heart Association.
She has traveled to 30+ international countries for exploring; organizes medical missions to Africa; hospital training/teaching in Rwanda and Tanzania; and participates in international church missions. She also provides Wellness Lifestyle Coaching, Wellness Retreats, and a member of the Wellness Tourism Association.
10:15 [Is there a drug translation chart by country?] So is there like a thing where you can say, in the US, it’s this? In the UK this? It’s this in Russia? It’s this in Mexico? It’s this? Is there anything like that?
12:31 So for someone who’s struggling at this time, and is unsure, you know, whether an aircraft is safe or not, what would you advise them? Like they’re hearing so much conflicting and confusing information about whether it’s safe to fly or not? And clearly, it’s getting through, because flights are just not as full as airlines would even remotely like them to be?
13:03 So what would you recommend for, let’s say, an average tourist wanting to go somewhere for a vacation? Like what would you recommend the precautions they follow? While onboard the aircraft?
Dr. McQueen So first of all, let me answer one of your questions about the travel. I can speak from the United States. First of all, there’s a lot of countries that are not accepting US citizens. So yes, that in itself is affecting the tourism by 50%? Totally.
And if they are accepting US citizens, please I tell people to research in advance before they get there. What are the requirements, and most people are changing week to week, whether it’s the restrictions, 14-day quarantine, bringing a COVID negative test, or just not letting us in.
Now, if you need to travel, my thing is, it still be should be only essential travel, particularly if it’s International. You know, I know there’s companies still sending people, health care workers, engineers, people like that. Essential workers. So if you need to travel that fine. If you don’t need to travel, this is just a want? My suggestion is just to continue self-sacrifice and hold out. I’m being honest about that.
So in the United States, our major carriers, there are some major carriers that are packing them full, and I’ve seen them packed full flights. There’s some major carriers that are keeping the middle seat open. Now people are saying that’s not six feet distance. No, it’s not. But it’s about the capacity of the number of people in the plane. So you If you have a plane with 100% capacity versus a plane is only 50% capacity that reduces your risk of probably the people being on the plane that actually is positive for COVID.
Oh, my suggestion for flying, which some of this things I was doing pre-COVID anyway, so I kind of wonder that won’t say it. But anyway, I would do a pre-COVID.
So first of all, TSA in the United States are basically shielding themselves and requiring that you either have the printed border pass, or the mobile border pass, and you actually have to scan it yourself. When you go through the TSA lines.
They say compact, everything, don’t pull your keys out, leave them on the bed and things like that. So that has less contact, compact everything. So they really suggest that people to check bags more than actually carry-on.
At the airport, there is social distancing, because the seats are blocked out in the gateways where you can sit and we can’t sit. I suggest people when they get on the plane, some planes are boarding from back to front, which is like, Oh my goodness, why didn’t you do this before. But if they’re not, I suggest either you board first, you know, have a reason to board first, or board last so that you’re not in the standing in the way or waiting for people.
I suggest you pick a seat, you can always pick your seat ahead of time people use the airline app or go online pick your seat one or two days before and I pick the window. Because even if people are passing me by, they’re not breathing over me.
When I get on the plane, I wiped the high contact areas, the armrest, the little button you recline back, my seat belt, the window shade, the monitor, anything that I’m attached often do you need to wipe down a seat pretty much not most of the planes are doing thorough cleaning in between flights.
And the seats even if you feel like your clothes get contaminated. When you get to your destination, just take your clothes off, I try to tell people to avoid taking the hands and putting them in the round and nose and mouth for you because you have to wear masks anyway.
So the other gesture mask, your mask is required in the airport boarding and on the plane unless you drinking or eating. It’s just they’re not serving much these days. You shouldn’t be eating on a plane, particularly if it’s less than two, three hours I say that. So that’s what I particularly do.
Now I know people worry about that recirculated air. So I actually say that air probably is better on the plane than it is in the grocery store. Because the HEPA filters. Recirculating means is recirculating from the inside to the outside, not in the plane inside to outside. So every two to four minutes, the air is being exchanged with the outside air. So you get a 50% inside 50% outside air, and it’s mixing and then it does it again another two to four minutes. So with a half of filters, people should feel very safe and breathe in the air on the airplane.
18:18 Because the reason I was asking because I saw this report from an MD on and it was reported on NBC News here in the us about the doctor who came down with COVID and was convinced that he somehow absorbed this virus through his eyes. So do you believe that?
Well, yeah, we call mucous membranes. mucous membranes are basically the pink area of your skin like around your mouth and your nose, in your eyes, and sometimes even in the ears. So if he touched something or touch someone that had covid touch that hit and real and it hit COVID on his fingers, and he immediately touched their eyes and you know rub your eyes Yes, it’s possible.
19:08 So would you recommend a face shield as opposed of your face mask which is already mandated?
21:01 Okay. Also, I don’t want to get too technical here. But this is an RNA virus. I mean, we’re hearing a lot about this. And from what I know about RNA viruses, they are so inherently unstable outside, you know, the body. And yet we’re hearing stories that this virus can survive on inanimate objects like metal, or cardboard, or whatever for days. And that just doesn’t seem that flies in the face of everything I knew about RNA viruses, is that true?
23:35 Renting a car, Is it okay for me to rent a car? I mean, what about the air condition if the last person in there was “infected?” How does that affect me when I turn the air condition?
29:41 But what are the requirements now to get into St. Croix?
The requirements is having a covid 19 test that is negative within 72 hours of you landing. So when you land, you actually the process is now slow. Because as you go through the passageway to go to baggage claim you stop you, you fill out a health certification test. Have you been exposed? Have you been around anyone blah, blah, blah. And then they request for you to show the negative test either on your phone or printed out. I tell people to print it out. So they can have it also, well, the hospital usually provide housing, but for a few days, I had to actually get a hotel because I was waiting for the previous doctor to move out. And I actually had to stay in a hotel and the hotel required it to since they were only taking a central worker. So the hotel is like do you have your copy of your negative test? And then they made a copy it put it on my file and they had to do that. So.
32:08 So is this across all the US Virgin Islands? Or is it Island specific? Like if I went to St. Thomas, would I have to do the same thing for Puerto Rico?