Playing It Safe in a Summer of Coronavirus

By: Aimee Toups, RN, CIC, Infection Preventionist, Thibodaux Regional Health System

Precautions that we usually take during the summer—sunscreen, hydration, insect repellent, water safety—are compounded this summer with the addition of safe distancing, wearing masks in public and staying home more than usual.

It’s the summer of COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronaviruses typically survive for shorter periods at higher temperatures and higher humidity. However, as this virus continues to confound and confuse, the CDC warns that warm weather may not slow the spread.

There are basic precautions that we can take to limit risk and still enjoy the summer. Gauge your risk with time, space, people and place. Also, follow basic hygiene practices:

  • Wash your hands frequently;
  • Don’t touch your face;
  • Clean surfaces regularly;
  • Wear masks in public;
  • If you’re sick, stay home.

Other Summer Vacation Precautions

When making travel plans, consider the destination. Beaches and pools remain relatively low risk—if social distancing is observed. The sheer volume of water tends to dilute the virus. Avoid crowds by going early in the morning or late afternoon. Also, reapply sunscreen often.

When looking for accommodations, ask about hotel or vacation home rental COVID-19 policies. Bring your own supplies to disinfect television remotes and other high-touch surfaces. The CDC offers a guide on cleaning and disinfecting <>. You may feel safer bringing your own pillows and bed and bath linens.

Camping can be a low-risk vacation option. Risk increases if the campground is overcrowded, has shared restrooms and communal picnic and playground areas. Pack insect repellent and first aid supplies, and beware of reptiles and other wildlife.

Traveling by car and only with people from your household poses the lowest risk to the contagious virus. Limit restroom stops and choose drive-through over sit-down restaurants.

Whether planning a staycation or traveling outside Louisiana, remember to stay hydrated. As a rule, drink at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water a day. Zero calories, zero carbs and zero sugar.

The summer of 2020 will likely be long remembered. Try to have fun, make memories and enjoy your summer, just please do summer safely.