Limit the Spread of Coronavirus With These Precautions
As the weather gets nicer, bars and restaurants begin to open, and larger groups congregate, you may find yourself becoming less conscientious about the personal precautions you’re taking to protect yourself and others from the spread of COVID-19.
George T. Chiampas, DO, director of emergency medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, asserts the importance of keeping personal precautions up as summer goes into full swing. Here are Dr. Chiampas’ tips for safer summer activities during the pandemic.
Wear a Mask in Public Places
A face mask is your first line of defense against COVID-19 — and it helps protect those around you, too.
“Whether you’re going out to a farmers market or exercising outside, the fundamental point is that each person has a responsibility to wear a mask,” says Dr. Chiampas. “This responsibility also extends to diligence in other hygiene protocols, such as hand-washing and wiping down high-touch areas to minimize the risk for yourself and others.”
Public spaces include parks, restaurants, running trails, crowded streets, stores and even the beach.
Tip: Masks are especially important if you are going somewhere where you can’t ensure proper physical distancing.
Practice Physical Distancing
When going to public places, try to maintain at least a 6-foot distance from others who are not a part of your group. For summer activities, this means making sure your picnic is set up at least 6 feet away from other groups, passing runners and bikers on trails with a 6-foot berth, and making sure you only frequent restaurants or bars where the tables are set up 6 feet apart.
Why 6 feet? When you talk, cough or sneeze, your respiratory droplets can travel up to 6 feet. Staying 6 feet away from others helps minimize the risk of coming into contact with someone else’s droplets, or spreading yours to others. To reduce the spread of COVID-19, it’s important to avoid crowded areas.
Tip: If you’re going to a restaurant, call ahead to make sure their floor plan is set up for physical distancing and that staff is wearing masks.
Make Hygiene the Centerpiece of Your BBQ
If you’re planning to have a small group of family or friends over for a summer barbeque, skip the shared dip. Since COVID-19 can spread through respiratory droplets, eliminate shared dishes to reduce the spread. Properly wash your hands before and after preparing and eating food, and make sure to wear a mask if you are preparing food for a larger group. Limit shared plates and utensils, and use single-use if possible. Be sure to disinfect high-touch places and don’t share drinks.
Monitor your guest list. Make sure that those you invite over for social gatherings have not had COVID-19 symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19 or been in contact with someone with COVID-19. Keep track of who attended your gathering in case anyone develops symptoms later.
Tip: Host your gathering outside. If this is not possible, make sure your indoor space is well- ventilated with open windows and fans.
Sick? Stay Home.
If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills or cough, stay home. Consult your local Immediate Care Center if your symptoms persist.