This weekend, many will travel and gather to celebrate July 4th but as they do, they run the risk of exposing themselves to possible COVID-19 infection, especially as case counts continue to rise.
Virus or not, there are ways you can still have fun while maintaining precautions that will protect yourself and surrounding loved ones. While celebrating the fourth, it’s important to follow the seven below safety tips:
Enjoy the celebration from home
Ultimately, if you have a chronic illness or live with someone who does, stay home. There are ways to watch lA Capitol Fourth on PBS or you can take a virtual tour of the Smithsonian or 31 of our national parks.
Avoid large groups of people
If you do plan to celebrate with others, continue practicing social distancing by maintaining 6 feet of space and avoid large crowds. If you plan to host a small group, it’s recommended to limit your headcount to 10 or less to help control who you’re exposing yourself and others too.
Food & drinks
As you prepare food for yourself and others, be sure to keep all foods at its proper temperature to avoid any potential cases of food poisoning – especially any meats or fish. Additionally, to avoid cross-contamination of germs or a virus, do not share food and drinks. If you’re celebrating in a small, socially distant gathering, use clean personal utensils to serve food to avoid touching the same serving utensils.
Enjoy the outdoors
Participating in outdoor activities or being out in nature (compared to being indoors) reduces the likelihood of contracting the virus. If you decide to celebrate outside, it’s critical to drink plenty of water in order to avoid dehydration.
Increase your supervision of children
Whether you’re at a neighborhood BBQ, your backyard swimming pool, or a local lake, it’s easy to lose sight of children so it’s highly recommended that parents and those around supervising children at all times. Designate one adult to observe children in the water and if that adult needs to step away for any reason, assign another to take over.
Protect yourself from the sun
Wearing proper sun protection including sunscreen and face coverings is highly recommended when celebrating outside, especially with the expected heatwave ahead. It’s common for cases of sun poisoning to increase around this time of year so to avoid this, wear a hat, sunglasses, and reapply sunscreen with a high SPF throughout the day.
Be responsible with fireworks
Lastly, with many places canceling public firework displays, it’s enticing to purchase your own fireworks. If you do buy fireworks, it’s suggested that you read and follow all directions and precautions listed on the fireworks package. Avoid lighting fireworks in your hands to prevent burns and injuries and be cognizant of the potential for causing fires given the current landscape is high risk.
About the Author
Chirag Patel, APRN, FNP-C, is an area medical manager for FastMed Urgent Care clinics in the Dallas metro.