Another holiday approaches during the pandemic, and with a few states loosening their restrictions, the inclination to travel and celebrate is certainly difficult to curb. Those who are considering a weekend filled with festivities should caution that preemptive celebration could be cause for another spike in cases. If you do plan on traveling and enjoying the extended weekend, there are a few things you can do to keep yourself and others around you safe.
Masks, Masks and More Masks.
While we’ve all heard of the benefits mask wearing has on maintaining our own and others’ safety, there are a few additional reasons why people should pack extra masks over the weekend and change them regularly. In hot weather, moisture-rich masks that aren’t cleaned can lead to other health issues like flare-ups of acne and fungal infections on the skin and in the mouth. Naturally occurring microbes on the skin and in the mouth may overgrow in the moisture-rich and warm environment of a mask worn repeatedly in the heat. Keeping a few extra masks on hand and washing cloth masks frequently during the weekend is recommended.
Traveling? Consult With A Health Provider First.
If you do decide to travel cautiously over the weekend, it may be a good rule of thumb to ask your healthcare provider if traveling is even a good idea for you. Older patients, people with young children, pregnant women and patients with chronic health conditions that may affect and lower their immune protection should avoid travel at this time.
If and when you travel during the pandemic, there are a number of ways you can protect yourself, including staying up to date with, and checking the local requirements and restrictions of the destination you are traveling to so you can adequately prepare for your visit. Other practices, such as positioning air vents directly over your head and face to circulate air and push germs away from your face; traveling with water and soap or alcohol-based hand cleaners; and handling your own bags as much as possible are effective ways to reduce the likelihood of infection.
Be Cautious About Alcohol Consumption and The Heat.
Drink plenty of water and stay cool during these hot days, especially if you will be consuming alcohol over the holiday weekend. Heat illness can mimic the symptoms of a COVID-19 infection so it’s better not to leave any room for confusion about what your diagnosis might be if you do get sick, so stay hydrated as much as possible.
Avoid Shared Food.
It’s tradition to want to share food during a holiday, but to protect everyone, people will have to function more cautiously this Labor Day Weekend. Even if you’re celebrating in a small, socially distanced gathering, use clean personal utensils to serve food to avoid guests touching the same serving tools. Especially while preparing food for a social gathering, wear a mask and make sure not to reuse silverware.
Other Ways To Have Fun.
You don’t have to travel far to have a good time, nor do you have to celebrate the holiday weekend alone! If you still plan on hosting a get-together, make sure all festivities remain outdoors. Limit your group size to 10 people or less, and recommend that those who attend live in town.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there is no evidence that COVID-19 spreads through water. Swimming outdoors in a natural body of water is a great way to stay active and enjoy the heat over the weekend.
Other outside activities like biking and hiking in remote areas are also alternative ways to get together with a few friends and family members safely. As always, bring the appropriate supplies that will help you and others stay safe, and you’re on your way to a fun-filled, socially distanced weekend.
About the Author
Kristopher Richardson, MSM, PA-C, is the San Antonio and Houston area medical manager for FastMed Urgent Care.