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How to Have Fun, and Remain Safe, at the Beach or Pool This Summer

June 05, 2020

It beckons with the rhythmic ebb of the waves and the promise of a cool dip on a hot day, feeding the soul, which needs it more than ever after a grueling few months of COVID-19.

The beach – like any other favorite outdoor spots – is not off-limits in this peri-pandemic world, but, like your trips to the market, they will require a little extra planning and attention this summer so you can avoid exposure to anyone with the virus.

Outdoors is actually preferable to indoors because the air quality is better and it’s great for your mental health, but being around crowds is not the way to go. And, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, temperature has little to do with the spread of the disease, but social distancing does.

“The most effective way to protect yourself – and others – from COVID-19 is still physical distancing and wearing a mask outdoors,” said Dr. Ajay Kumar, Hartford HealthCare‘s chief clinical officer.

Here are some tips to protect yourself and others when you’re headed to the beach or out for other summer fun:

  1. Plan trips at intervals to minimize risk. Every time you leave the house, whether to go shopping or the park, you put yourself at risk for COVID-19 infection. Go on multiple errands in one trip, or do an errand and then hit a fun spot. Avoid daily trips. It’s still important to stay home when possible.
  2. Remember the guidelines. The precautions urged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remain in place, so when you’re out, practice physical distancing, wash your hands and wear a mask. Most public areas require everyone, even children, to wear masks.
  3. Choose the road less traveled. This is not the summer for lying blanket to blanket on your favorite beach. Try exploring hiking trails that might lead to hidden watering holes. Or, head to the beach early in the morning or late in the day when it’s less busy.
  4. Don’t forget the sunscreen. Remember the area under your mask. Sun filters through most cloth and masks can shift while, leaving strips of unprotected skin exposed to harmful sun rays.
  5. Gauge the group. If you’re out for a bike ride, you can probably forego the mask, but if you’re with a larger group of people riding, walking or hiking together, consider wearing one to be safe. You should always have one with you in case you run into large groups or decided to stop for a snack.
  6. Avoid sweaty contact. It’s not a good idea to jump in a game of basketball or soccer yet. The sports are heated and players get too close for safety.  Try other fun group sports like golf, tennis or tossing a football. Or go with solo exercise like yoga outdoors.
  7. Dive in. The chlorine used as part of regular pool maintenance should inactivate any virus in the water, according to the CDC, so feel free to take a dip as long as the pool isn’t crowded and you can maintain distance between you and other swimmers.

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