Headed Outdoors During COVID-19? Follow These Safety Tips
It's important to remember safety when taking to the great outdoors during the pandemic as these young hikers did in Shenandoah, VA.
April 23, 2020
As the weather gets nicer and we all practice social distancing, many of us are taking to the great outdoors for a change of scenery. But we still need to be mindful of coronavirus safety guidelines. And it’s a good idea to follow some outdoor and hiking safety steps too.
First, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - when outdoors, avoid crowds and put distance between yourself and other people. Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the coronavirus.
Protecting Against COVID-19
Visit parks and recreational areas that are close to your home.
Avoid areas that are crowded or where you cannot stay at least 6 feet away from others at all times. Avoid gathering with people outside of your household.
Prepare before you visit. Check with the park in advance to be sure you know which areas or services are open, such as bathroom facilities and concessions, and bring what you need with you.
Avoid playgrounds, including water playgrounds, because it can be challenging to keep surfaces clean and disinfected in these areas.
Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to use if soap and water are not available.
Stay at home if you are sick or are just not feeling well
Additional Safety Steps
Bring nutritious food items and water.
Pack matches or fire starters, a flashlight and extra batteries, an extra layer of clothing to prepare for sudden weather changes, and a first aid kit that includes insect repellant, sunscreen and personal medications.
When hiking, pick a trail everyone can successfully complete and enjoy safely. If you have any medical conditions, consider discussing your plans with your healthcare provider.
Share your travel plans and locations with a family member, neighbor or friend.
Have a way to communicate.Do not rely on your cell phone because there may not be cellular coverage and reception where you hike.
Check the weather before you head out on your hike and protect yourself from the sun.
Mosquitoes biting? Ideally the first step is to prevent mosquito bites. If not, use an over-the-counter product to reduce the itch and urge to scratch.
Blisters? Try to keep it in tact. If the blister breaks, clean it, use an antibacterial ointment and protect with another barrier such as a bandage.
Download the First Aid App so that you will know what to do in case help is delayed.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.