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 <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html#clean-disinfect>. 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.