Is it safe to go outside? How do you know you won't get the virus? How do you become infected with COVID-19 outside? What can you do to stay safe? As a doctor, I'm asked these questions all the time. Here are the top ways to avoid catching coronavirus. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Remember: You're safest At Your Own Home
There is always risk outside—so stay in unless it's absolutely essential to leave. As for other people's spaces: Don't go inside another person's house, or any buildings other than your own home, unless you're willing to take the risk. Being outside is, in fact, safer. You are very unlikely to get infected with COVID-19 outside in the fresh air. The risk of transmission increases significantly when you go indoors.
We know that the virus spreads itself from person to person inside droplets of respiratory mucus. These are exhaled when an infected person speaks, coughs, or sneezes. The larger respiratory droplets only travel a short distance and are quickly dispersed by wind and air currents, before they fall to the ground. The virus is also sensitive to temperature, and humidity, so it cannot exist for long periods suspended in the air, or outside the body. Smaller droplets, known as aerosols can linger for up to 3 hours.
Be aware that air conditioning units and ventilation systems may increase the risk of transmission, especially in shopping malls, restaurants, and offices, for example. The key message is to practice social distancing at all times—the CDC recommendation is that you stay 6 feet, (about 2 arms lengths) away from any person who is not in your household.
When to Wear a Mask
The CDC recommends everyone wears a mask if they are out of their own home, and unable to practice safe social distancing—for example, inside a supermarket, a pharmacy or a doctor's office. This is especially important any time you are inside.
Outside, if you are in a built-up area, where the sidewalks are crowded, you should also wear a mask, and of course, whenever you use public transport.
However, if you are walking, when you get into a less busy spot, where you can keep your 6 feet distance with ease, you can remove your mask. When you are out in the open, such as a park, woodland or a non-crowded beach (or in the water), there is no need to wear a mask.
Wearing a mask is helpful to reduce viral spreading, however, it does not prevent viral spread altogether. Don't think that by wearing a mask, none of the other protective measures matter. You still need to be hand washing frequently and staying 6 feet away from other people. The addition of misting with HOCL is one more layer to keeping safe!
Scientists believe you must be in close proximity to another person for at least 15 minutes to stand a good chance of acquiring the virus. They also feel it's important to keep moving. You are less likely to transmit the virus if you walk and talk 6 feet apart, than if you sit still, for example, sharing a park bench, or a beach towel, even when you still maintain the 6-foot distance.
Remember, you do need to breathe in a significant amount of virus to become infected. You won't get infected from breathing in just a few virus particles. However, no-one knows how much virus is required to result in a person becoming infected with COVID-19. To stay safe‚ stay outside in the fresh air, stay 6 feet away from other people, and keep moving when possible.
It's still important to limit going out, and even though businesses are reopening, and life seems to be resuming some sort of normality, it's going out, and mixing with other people which increases the risk of becoming infected.
Here's some advice:
If you want to go with friends and/or family to any outdoor venue, such as a woodland park, look it up first online. Choose somewhere close to home. Check the car parking, and the facilities. Take adequate food and water supplies with you. Try to avoid peak times to avoid the crowds. Take your mask, and hand sanitizer.
You should only meet up with a small group, and limit the number of other households. Risk is increased when you mix with larger numbers of people and people you don't know.
Wear your mask anywhere where social distancing is not possible.
Wash your hands frequently before, during, and after the trip.
Follow local instructions when you get to the venue. Touch as little as possible. Disposable barbecues are not advisable as they can cause wildfires. Keep to footpaths. Take all your litter home with you.
When you get home, why not leave your shoes outside the house. COVID-19 has been found frequently on the shoes of healthcare workers and those working in a pharmacy.
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