As certain states and cities implement phases to open up select businesses, scenarios like going out to restaurants and getting hair cuts are becoming a reality again (although these things do pose a risk for infection without a vaccine available). People are also starting to go outside more.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that staying home is still the safest place to be during the coronavirus pandemic and prevent the spread, choosing outdoor activities limits your risk of exposure compared to indoor gatherings, according to public heath experts. This is because the airborne particles can better disperse outside, reducing the chance of contraction, says Harvard Medical Center.
As you go out more, there are some extra precautions you can take to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Whether you're running errands, taking a social distancing walk, or meeting friends outside in a park, be sure to have items like hand sanitizer, disinfectants, and a cloth face mask, among other essentials. Here are 7 things you need to stay safe while going out this summer.
1. Cloth face masks
We get it. Face masks are uncomfortable, but they are necessary to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to the CDC. Many establishments and cities require them to be worn, making them essential for practicing safe social distancing measures. So even if you’re finally sitting down at a restaurant, remember to keep your mask on when ordering to make your server feel safer as things reopen. Plus, there are a ton of stylish masks for sale that will make wearing these cloth coverings a little more enjoyable for both you and your kids.
2. Hand sanitizer
When you’re out in public, especially the outdoors, it can be hard to find a sink to properly wash your hands, which the CDC says is the best way to protect yourself from the coronavirus. Hand sanitizer is your next best option for killing germs and is good to keep on you at all times. It’s essential to sanitize your hands after touching surfaces or sitting on something like a park bench. While hand sanitizer was initially hard to find when the pandemic first hit, it’s now easier to find, and we have a running list of where to buy it online.
3. Disposable gloves
Another easy way to avoid touching surfaces and keep yourself safe? Using disposable gloves. While they can be harder to find these days, they create a nice barrier between you and surfaces, especially in grimy places like gas stations or public transportation. Just be sure to remove them properly by peeling one glove from the wrist and then remove the other glove by reaching up underneath it and pulling it off—and to sanitize immediately after removing them.
4. Travel tissues
While a runny nose isn’t a major symptom of the coronavirus, it’s still a good idea to keep a pack of travel tissues on you. You can cough into tissues without seeming like a danger to society and can use them as a barrier when opening doors, so you don’t come into direct contact with surfaces. Just be sure to dispose of them immediately after use and to sanitize after.
5. UV phone sanitizer
I hate to break it to you, but your phone is one of the dirtiest, germ-infested things we have on us at all times (think about it—they go to the bathrooms with us and sit on public counters). Even if you're sanitizing your hands, if you reach for your phone right after, you could be touching bacteria, which is why it's a good idea to clean your phone, too. Though not proven to kill coronavirus, we found that PhoneSoap is the best UV phone sanitizer at killing close to 99.99% of bacteria, and it could be a good alternative to constantly wiping down your phone. Bonus: It also doubles as a phone charger.
6. Disinfecting wipes or spray
While many businesses and restaurants are actively cleaning and sanitizing surfaces to welcome the return of customers, you can never be too safe. That's why it could be a good idea to bring some wet wipes or traveling disinfectant spray with you to sanitize tables or park benches you encounter. The CDC recommends sticking to household cleaners with at least 70% alcohol, and most EPA-registered disinfectants should be effective for regular use.
While you want to prevent yourself from potentially contracting and spreading coronavirus, you also want to ensure your skin is protected from harmful UV rays. While sunscreen is something you should wear all year round, it's especially important to have on as you spend more time outside. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunscreen that’s SPF 30 or above and is labeled “broad spectrum,” which gives protection from both UVA and UVB rays. If you plan to be outside for a while be sure to bring some with you, so you can reapply every two hours.