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Is It Safe To Visit Public Pools And Beaches This Summer?
The shift of seasons has arrived as balmy weather starts to move through communities across the country. This taste of sunshine and warmth has many people eager to flock to the nearest pool, lake, or beach. But is it safe? With the threat of the coronavirus still weighing heavily on many of us, experts are offering up some tips on how to enjoy a summer dip while also making your health and well-being a priority.
Though the risk of the virus is thought to be lower outside, it is still important to maintain social distancing protocols when at the beach, pool, lake or while engaging in any outdoor activity. This includes staying six feet away from other people, wearing a face mask when you can, washing your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds, and remaining indoors if you are feeling sick or have come in contact with someone who is sick.
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Before you head out to the nearest body of water, make sure authorities are restricting the number of people who have access at one time. Steer clear of any areas that look overcrowded and be sure to call ahead to ensure they are following safety protocols. Come prepared with your own lawn chairs, pool/beach toys, and towels. If you don’t have these items on hand, bring sanitizing wipes to wipe down any shared surfaces before you use them. Bring you face mask with you to wear out of the water or in case you must use any indoor public facilities.
Coronavirus is not likely to spread in water, the CDC says. Disinfecting chemicals such as chlorine and bromine can “inactivate” the virus in the water. However, the same can’t be said for saltwater or freshwater. There’s still a lot we don’t know about COVID-19, so the safest thing to do is maintain ample distance from others. While in the water, be sure to practice good hygiene: don’t swim too close to other people where you may come in contact with their spit or breath and don’t blow your nose, spit or sneeze in the water or near another person.
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According to CNN, infectious disease experts are “guardedly optimistic” that people can enjoy the outdoors this summer without infection if they do it right, said Dr. Thomas Feteke, chair of the Department of Medicine at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine and infectious disease specialist. When you’re not in the water, continue to maintain your social distancing and good hygiene routines. Stay away from areas that are overcrowded and stay home if you are in the high-risk group – older adults and people with chronic illnesses.
The final word? It looks like the options of visiting pools and beaches are not out of the question this summer. “You can do all these things,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center told CNN. “You just have to keep yourself distant.”