The outdoors are a great place to spend time during the coronavirus pandemic, but how do you stay safe?
Crowds of people flocked to their local parks and beaches over the weekend. In California, some beaches had to shut down because there were too many people not practicing social distancing,according to previous McClatchy News reporting.
And many popular parks in North Carolina had to close and set new limits because they were too crowded, McClatchy News reported. Several national parks have reported similar issues at sites across the country and have started to limit visitors.
As Americans get cabin fever under stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders and head outdoors, it’s important to stay safe and alert to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Here are some ways you can protect yourself against COVID-19 outdoors, according to the National Park Service.
PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING
Even if you’re outside, social distancing is important.
“Social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness,” according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Staying at least six feet away from other people lessens your chances of catching COVID-19.”
Even if you’re outdoors, staying out of crowds and away from others is crucial.
This includes when walking or running down paths. Don’t walk side by side and don’t crowd other walkers or runners.
Don’t play sports where you will have contact with others, such as basketball or even beach volleyball.
Don’t use public water fountains either; you don’t know who used it before you. Instead, bring your own water bottle.
WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN
The coronavirus can live up to three days on some surfaces, according to McClatchy News.
To help stop the spread of germs, wash your hands often, including before you head outdoors and when you return.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says to wet your hands with clean, running water, lather your hands with soap, scrub for 20 seconds, rinse and dry.
“Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs,” the CDC said on its website. “Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.”
And when you head out, take some hand sanitizer along — one with at least 60% alcohol is best, according to the CDC. If you touch any handrails or benches, wash your hands.
COVER YOUR MOUTH WHEN SNEEZING OR COUGHING
The CDC says the best way to stop the spread of germs when coughing is to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing., even when outdoors.Put used tissues in the trash as soon as you can find one/and wash your hands.
“Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others,” the CDC said.
If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the upper part of your sleeve. Avoid using your hands to cover your mouth.
DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE
If your allergies are kicked up because you’re outdoors, don’t itch your eyes — or touch your face anywhere else./ Germs can spread germs from your hands to your eyes, mouth and nose.
Mucus membranes on the face are “easy entry-ways for coronavirus bacteria,” according to WWLP. The CDC says not touching your face with unwashed hands should be avoided.
IF YOU’RE FEELING SICK, STAY HOME
The CDC says that if you are feeling sick or have a sick family member at home, it’s of the utmost importance to stay home, according to the National Park Service.
And remember, COVID-19 symptoms can appear between two and 14 days after exposure, according to the CDC.
Fever, cough and shortness of breath are common symptoms, but they can appear differently for different people.