(AscendHealthy.com) – It’s safe to say we’ve all gone a bit stir-crazy and that a vacation away from the confinement of the walls of our homes appeals to most of us. But can we do that safely? Most states in the country have opened up. But the coronavirus pandemic is still raging in many areas. So how does that affect summer vacation plans?
Don’t Let the Pandemic Ruin Your Summer.
Most Americans have been in lockdown for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So it’s no wonder that people may be feeling a bit of cabin-fever looking for ways to get out of the house. Summertime is when many of us like to take vacations. But is it possible this year? It is — if you take precautions.
The first thing you need to do is to find out how many cases of coronavirus are in your area or the place you plan to visit. You can do that by checking the Data Tracker on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. You can also use this tool from Johns Hopkins.
If there are surging cases in your area or if the place you want to visit is a hot spot, then it’s best to shelter at home. However, if you are in a place where the risk is lower, you can venture out as long as you are careful and plan ahead.
An epidemiologist at Boston University School of Public Health, Eleanor Murray, says you have to be careful because people can transmit COVID-19 even if they’re not showing any symptoms. An estimated one in five people who get the virus will never develop symptoms. That means you can’t just rely on how you and those around you are feeling today.
But if you and your family have been social distancing and wearing face coverings and are healthy, then there are some things that you can do this summer. In each category, we have listed them in the order of safest to most risky.
Heading Out of Town
It’s important to remember that whenever you travel from a high-risk place to a low-risk area, you are increasing the chances of spreading the virus. If you live in Arizona, Texas, or Florida, then it’s probably not the best idea to travel right now.
You also have to be careful if you’re traveling from a low-risk area to a high-risk one because you are more likely to pick up the virus and bring it back to your home or community.
If you’re determined to take a vacation this summer, one of the safest things you can do is to go camping. Just make sure that you stay at least six feet from others. You should also travel with plenty of disinfecting supplies.
Even when you’re camping outdoors, you should still wear a mask and make sure you wash your hands frequently.
Clinical epidemiologist Krysia Lindan from the University of California says if you drive to your campsite, you should only do it with people from your household who you know are uninfected. All of the people in the car should have spent the past two weeks social-distancing.
You also have to think about public restrooms. Many of them are not cleaned regularly, especially the super busy ones. That means they could increase your risk of catching the virus.
Vacation rentals are also relatively low-risk. Your best bet is to try to have a 72-hour buffer window between your visit and the last guests. It’s also important that all surfaces are wiped down. Booking sites like VRBO and Airbnb have cleaning guidelines. But to be sure, it’s best to travel with disinfectant so that you can quickly wipe down the rental unit.
Hotels pose a moderate risk. Before you stay at one, find out if they are using proper cleaning protocols. The staff at the hotel should be wearing masks, and they should be tested regularly. And just like when you travel to a vacation rental or campground, you should bring and use disinfectant.
Flying is considered one of the riskier things you can do this summer. Your chances of picking up the virus on a plane increase if the plane is crowded or it’s a long flight. Busy airports pose another risk.
Before you book your flight, ask the airline what type of cleaning they do and how far apart they seat passengers. Ideally, they will place people at least six feet apart. Try to get a seat next to a window with no one behind or next to you, if possible.
Activities for the Kids
There are also some fun activities that you can do with the kids this summer if you take proper precautions. Vacationing with kids can be a little tricky because they are less likely to be able to follow all of the strict safety recommendations.
More research is needed about how children may transmit the virus. So far, it seems that kids don’t experience symptoms as severely as adults do. However, they can still get sick and even die from COVID-19.
Playing outside is one of the safest activities you can do with your kids. It’s safest if they play outside of your home with just members of your household. If you’re traveling with little ones, try to find open spaces outdoors for them to play. But make sure that they social distance and wear masks when around other people.
Deserted playgrounds are also pretty safe. It’s best to find playgrounds that have been cleaned and are located in low-risk areas. All adults and kids over the age of two should wear face coverings at the playground and maintain physical distancing. It’s also important to frequently clean your child’s hands.
Whether you’re at home or traveling on vacation, play dates pose a moderate risk. The best thing you can do is to limit the guest list. Ideally, you should invite just one other family who you know has been practicing safety measures.
The other parents are the biggest concern here. Adults pose the most significant risk of transmitting the virus. For this reason, it’s crucial that everyone socially distances and wears masks.
Summer camps are the riskiest. Sleepaway camps are probably best to be avoided right now. It’s difficult to be sure the camp staff has all been socially distancing and wearing face covers when they’re away from the children.
If you want to send your child to camp this summer, look for day camps that are based outdoors. You should also look for organizations that work with small groups of kids. Large indoor camps pose the highest risk and are not a good idea this summer.
As the country reopens and more activities become allowed, not all of them will be wise choices. It is possible to vacation this summer, by following common-sense safety precautions. These include wearing a face mask, keeping at least six feet away from others, and frequently washing your hands. And stay home if you are experiencing any symptoms. Enjoy your summer while keeping health and safety foremost in mind.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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