Travel with children 10

Travel: Precautions to take in case of virus infection

To the point Following on from Covid-19, here's a reminder of the essential precautions to take in the event of virus-related infection if you need to travel.

Having all experienced the coronavirus in 2020, famously known as COVID-19, there are a number of precautions to keep in mind during periods of viral contagion, in order to protect ourselves and each other. The incubation period (the time between infection and the appearance of the first symptoms) varies from one virus to another. What we do know is that all viruses are contagious, albeit to varying degrees, as we have experienced.

Although I am a pharmacist by profession, in this article I do not give any pharmaceutical or medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, consult your doctor, pharmacist and other health care professionals. The Ordre des Pharmaciens du Québec (OPQ) is not associated with this article.

A quick reminder about coronavirus and viruses in general

As we have seen and experienced, Covid-19 was and remains a highly contagious virus. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, small droplets containing the virus are sprayed onto people or surrounding surfaces.

It is therefore essential that sick people cover their mouth or nose with the fold of their elbow or a handkerchief (which will be thrown away immediately afterwards) and wash their hands as frequently as possible.

Contamination can occur through breathing in contaminated droplets and contact of hands on the face previously contaminated with surfaces where the virus is present.

So everyone becomes a potential carrier! Although some viruses are less virulent, the principle of inoculation remains the same.

Isolation measurement

Despite some side effects that some people have experienced, getting vaccinated remains one of the most effective preventive methods. That’s what put an end to our pandemic. It is therefore advisable to follow your doctor’s instructions.

Going into isolation is voluntary for everyone, but remains mandatory for all healthcare workers according to a well-defined protocol, which was relaxed in 2023.

For anyone returning to isolation, we recommend avoiding :

  • use public transport
  • going out in public
  • welcome visitors to your home

If you can’t follow these measures, consider wearing a mask, distancing yourself physically, reinforcing hand hygiene rules and avoiding shaking hands with others.

Avoid unnecessary indoor gatherings even if there are only 50 people.


As people aged 70 and over are more fragile, avoid non-essential visits to health care facilities, seniors’ residences or their homes, while you recover, or plan to take a walk outdoors, while respecting health regulations.

People at risk

People most at risk of complications from highly contagious viruses are..:

  • immunocompromised people
  • people with chronic diseases
  • the elderly
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Sanitary measures


  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds, ideally with soap or a hydro-alcoholic solution, and as frequently as possible to kill any virus that may be present.
  • Avoid putting your hands on your face (eyes, nose, mouth).
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow rather than into the air, or into your hands, or into a tissue that will be thrown immediately into a trash can.
  • Wear a mask only if you are ill and do not exacerbate the current shortage of personal protective equipment needed by health care professionals.
  • Wash doorknobs, kitchen countertops, bathroom countertops, remote controls, keyboards, telephones and other appliances, and any other areas that may have been touched more frequently at home. Remember to clean the handles and steering wheel of your car.
  • Taking a hot bath is a common misconception that won’t protect you from the virus!

To put an end to misconceptions about COVID-19 and false news, please see this page.

In pharmacies

  • If you experience symptoms such as a cough or fever, call 1-877-644-4545 and the hospital will be notified. Hydrate regularly, gargle and clean your nose to clear your airways if necessary, and ask your pharmacist for advice on which behind-the-counter treatment would be right for you.
  • Renew your prescriptions by phone as much as possible. Your pharmacist can offer you a delivery service so you don’t have to go anywhere, the delivery people have clear procedures to follow. Storing more could lead to a risk of stock-outs that could be dangerous for some patients!
  • If your prescriptions have expired, call your pharmacist first to see if an extension might be allowed in your case rather than going to your doctor.
  • Do not use antibiotics (which have no effect on viruses) or self-medicated anti-inflammatory drugs if you suspect a COVID-19 infection or other respiratory virosis, as this could lead to serious complications, unless recommended by your doctor or pharmacist.
  • The Collège des médecins and the Ordre des pharmaciens have relaxed certain rules since March 16:
    • Pharmacists in Quebec can extend prescriptions for periods beyond those stipulated by law.
    • They can also prescribe drugs for minor conditions, provided there is a four-year interval between the doctor’s initial diagnosis and the pharmacist’s prescription.
    • Finally, the pharmacist is no longer obliged to communicate to a physician information concerning the extension, adjustment or substitution of a drug, unless a physician so requests.

These measures are aimed at reducing the number of medical consultations as much as possible.


  • Pay with a credit card, contactless, as much as possible in order to limit the exchange of money from hand to hand.
  • Shop online for groceries so you can have what you need at home. No reason to overstock.
  • Make sure the elders you know have everything they need at home and call them regularly to check in on them, being more isolated.
  • Limit family and business travel and gatherings as much as possible. Birthdays and other holidays will have to wait.
  • Use disinfectant wipes to disinfect any potentially contaminated objects, surfaces or areas.
  • Give preference to remote work
  • Use telephone or video conferencing rather than outside appointments.
  • Avoid handshakes or hugs and wave or nod.
  • Avoid close contact with people other than your family, or keep at least 1 metre away from a person if they show flu-like symptoms (cough, fever or sneezing).
  • In pharmacies, clinics and other practices, avoid touching magazines if they are present.

It is not forbidden to get some air. But avoid ALL CONTACT with other people.


  • If you become ill while traveling, consult a doctor according to your symptoms, and indicate which trips you have taken.
  • In hotels, wash your hands after using an elevator, touching a handle, a counter or buffet cutlery.
  • Try to put your hands on surfaces as little as possible and clean them beforehand with suitable antiseptic wipes if necessary.
  • Avoid air-conditioned areas to avoid getting sick.
  • Avoid crowds and crowded tourist areas.

Viruses can also be transmitted in hot, humid climates. Travelling south won’t protect you from contamination. If there are fewer apparent cases in countries around the Equator, it’s probably because there is less detection.

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With the children

Young children can be made aware of health measures, and it’s best to start early to establish good habits. Children LOVE to put their hands everywhere, roll around on the floor, put everything in their mouths, pick up found objects, but when the games are over, it’s time to clean up or take a bath.

As parents, it’s your duty to explain to them why hygiene is important, especially as it’s often necessary to repeat it several times a day. And we’re their role models: show them the right habits to adopt.

Some ideas and recommendations :

  • When you wash your hands, remember to ask them to come with you to wash theirs. If you have a baby or young child, clean their face regularly.
  • Try to wash their hands before/after meals, outings and games in their room.
  • Try to wash the most frequently used games regularly, as well as gloves and mittens.
  • Make them aware of bacteria and viruses, with books to read on the subject, arts and crafts and colouring activities. There are lots of ideas on
  • Why not print a child-friendly reminder to clean their hands to hang in the bathroom?
  • Involve them in cleaning tasks in an appropriate manner. What kid has never wanted to hold a broom or a vacuum cleaner?
  • Clean fruits and vegetables together and explain why.
  • Make a game of it by asking them to walk around with their hands folded behind their backs.
  • When traveling, we sometimes find certain surfaces so dirty that they horrify us, but our children don’t: if you’re outside, keep them busy with a banana to hold or a game to prevent them from touching these surfaces directly.

Do we still have to travel?

This decision is yours alone. If you’re already abroad and plan to stay where you are:

  • Make sure that you have the necessary supplies (financial resources, medicines, food) for a sufficient period of time and that the rules of hygiene and isolation are respected,
  • Find out about the situation in the country you are in and respect its measures (you may be asked to leave as a foreigner)
  • Declare your presence abroad by registering on the list of Canadians Abroad.
  • Check that your insurance still covers you properly

Bear in mind that abroad, you’re just a “foreigner”: a country’s first priority is to protect and care for its own citizens.

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What about my points and miles?

Depending on your situation, if you’re traveling and you’re contagious, always check the conditions set by the airlines to find out what is and isn’t refundable. It is up to everyone to contact these parties to find out what the situation is.

Feel free to contact them through Facebook or Twitter private messaging. Mention only simple information such as file number, date of travel and a phone number to reach you.

The same applies to hotel reservations, where you can obtain a refund directly if you have booked with them and according to their conditions. Don’t wait until the last minute, of course.

Until you get better, re-evaluate your short-, medium- and which card tour would be most advantageous for you. Maybe the next tour will be all about cash back!

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We have prepared a list of websites providing essential information on COVID-19. We leave this list as it remains useful in the event of contagion by any virus. Who knows what the future holds?

Bottom Line

The COVID-19 virus has put some people’s minds at rest. Evil for good? This led us to rethink both our travel plans and how we booked trips.

In the future, many travellers will consider choosing a credit card with excellent insurance and will book directly on the airline’s website. How many travellers have been caught up in the back-and-forth between different intermediaries (online travel agencies/airlines), after shopping for their plane tickets on a discount flight site? Or others will now prefer to go through a travel agent to benefit from the coverage offered in Quebec.

In any case, prevention tastes much better. Take care of yourself and we wish you healthy travels!

We’re checking in on you in the Facebook group.

Let us reflect on this crisis and fight together so that we can get back to our pre-crisis routines quickly.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Audrey Voisine
Mother of two young children, pharmacist, travel hacker's wife and frequent traveller, Audrey shares her advices and destinations recommendations on milesopedia.

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