Protecting yourself and others this holiday weekend

While plans may have changed for some, many celebrations may be going forward as our community members celebrate locally or choose to travel for the holiday. As guidelines continue to relax, we should encourage one another to take all the precautions we can to mitigate the spread of the virus during our activities. In order to avoid a sharp rise in our county cases it is imperative that we work together to be safe during this Independence Day weekend.

In consideration of our family members, friends, patients, and coworkers, let’s keep these guidelines top of mind to keep not only ourselves but everyone we know and love in full health. Everything we do should be viewed through this lens. We can set a positive example for those around us this weekend and seek any safe alternatives to celebrate and socialize.

Here are some precautionary guidelines to practice this weekend:

Wash your hands often. Use soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. As a general rule, if you are in a public place and cannot wash your hands avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth until you are able to practice hand hygiene. Carry hand sanitizer for this circumstance. Use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

Avoid close contact with others. While this weekend presents many opportunities for large gatherings, please social distance or change your plans so fewer are congregated. Put six feet of distance between yourself and others. Again, keep those you love and work with in mind. Even if your group does not present any symptoms, they may be carrying the virus and infect you and thus others who are important to you.

Utilize a face mask when around others. Face masks are meant to protect other people in case you are infected. In public settings or when around those who don’t live in your household, using a face mask is a measure of care and consideration of others. Remember this! And consider that using a face mask is not a substitute for social distancing – the six foot rule as stated above still applies when you are wearing your mask.

Cover coughs and sneezes. When you need to sneeze or cough, use your elbow and do not spit. Throw any used tissues in the trash or wash the items you sneezed or coughed into. Wash your clothing according to their instructions or thoroughly wash your body in this circumstance as well.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes car handles, steering wheels, shifters, tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Then, use a household disinfectant. Refer to this link for the most common EPA-registered household disinfectants.

Monitor your health daily. Watch yourself and others in your household for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, including fevers, coughs, shortness of breath, headaches, or other symptoms. If you run any essential errands, go into work, or put yourself in a setting where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance or six feet for any reason, this is especially crucial. Should any symptoms develop, take your temperature. Follow CDC guidance if any symptoms develop.

This weekend remains an exciting time, enjoy! Let’s be safe for ourselves and for one another.