by Annita M. Taylor, MBA, MSN, APRN, ANP
During the hotter season, there is an increased want to gather with family and friends at the beach, in parks, at public swimming pools, and places such as spas to escape the heat and take a break from the madness in the world. It is common to have large events and celebrations for the holidays as well. As summertime approaches, many questions have come about regarding the safety of travel, gatherings, summer camp, and fun in the sun.
According to the CDC, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads through the water in swimming pools and hot tubs. Bromine and chlorine are the chemicals used to clean and purify them. These chemicals are also known to kill the virus and should do this in the water as well; however, larger crowds in these public places put you at risk of being exposed to the virus. With this said, it is important to practice safety precautions such as social distancing.
Some states have reopened minimal airline travel, swimming pools, beaches, and parks. People must remain vigilant in efforts to continue to curve the spread of COVID-19. Here are a few tips to help you remain healthy while enjoying outdoor activities:
1. Find out what your state’s guidelines are, learn them, and stick to the script. As each state begins the reopening phases, there will be specific rules and regulations everyone is expected to follow. These guidelines, the state regional monitoring dashboard, and updated COVID-19 information can be found for New York State at: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home
If you are traveling, find out ahead of time what precautions the airlines are taking. Some airlines are checking temperatures and seating passengers every other seat, etc. Remember, travel should be for essential purposes; however, if you must travel, it is also your responsibility to practice safety measures.
Each state has made its recommendation regarding the opening of summer camps for children. As there is no vaccine for COVID-19 to date, as parents are returning to work, they are tasked with making the tough decision whether or not to send their children to day camp. If you are considering sending your child to camp, speaking with camp administration regarding the safety measures in place and staff training to keep your child healthy while attending is extremely important. Asking questions such as, “ how will staff and campers be monitored for signs and symptoms of COVID-19” and “how will shared items be disinfected between uses” are just two of many that are vital. The camp's location and setup should also be considered when deciding whether to send your child to camp. Bear in mind; although there are reported decreases in cases, it can still spread from person to person whether asymptomatic or symptomatic.
2· Continue to practice social distancing. Social gathering places can attract large crowds. This puts you at risk of encountering someone who may have the virus. Maintaining at least six feet apart can help prevent getting or spreading the virus.
3· Wear a face-covering properly when you are out and about. According to the CDC the main way the virus is spread is “from person-to-person”. Wearing a face covering will help prevent the virus from entering your respiratory tract should you come near someone who is infected. If you feel yourself becoming tired or fatigued, go to a safe space away from other people to shortly remove the mask to take in the fresh air.
4· Wash your hands if possible or use hand sanitizer when touching objects such as handles of doors, bathroom stalls, and lockers. Other items you may touch that might be contaminated are locks, faucets, food tongs when cooking out, and other surfaces. Remember to always wash your hands before you eat and after you use the restroom and do not touch your face.
5· When reentering your home, remove your shoes and clothing at the door. Toss your clothes in the wash and take a shower. If you bring any items into the house with you, wipe them down before storing them away.
Although the safest measure to take is to stay home, these are just a few tips to keep in mind as the weather becomes nicer, and the urge to be outside increases. Keeping ourselves, loved ones, and the community healthy is the key to enjoying it.
Stay safe, informed, and healthy!
NP A.M. Taylor