Your city is reopening soon, if it hasn’t already—and you’ll finally have a chance to hang out with your old friends…and one unwelcome one: the coronavirus. Despite rules relaxing, COVID-19 can still be transmitted from person to person. To protect yourself, read this story about the 10 ways you could catch coronavirus, so you can stay safe outside.
“As more roads, parks and trails start to open up, more densely populated trails, sidewalks, beaches and parks, forcing people to be in closer proximity, could heighten this risk,” says Dr. Lili Barsky, an LA-based hospitalist and urgent care provider, with a cardiology focus. “Thus, I would encourage people to avoid such densely populated areas. Also, I would advise carrying around some form of mask, in case they find themselves in a situation where they are surrounded by people in close proximity.”
“There’s no way of knowing who has the virus around you especially when some people are asymptomatic. And if you’re breathing rapidly due to aerobic exercise, you can increase the risk of intaking droplets in the air,” says Dr. Pran Yoganathan. “Therefore, go for a walk or go for a run when there are less busy people about. This may involve picking unpopular times (midday) or in the evening and avoiding popular times (early morning and in the afternoon).”
“You can catch coronavirus outside mainly by coming into close contact with someone who is an active carrier of the coronavirus or by coming into contact with droplets that contain the coronavirus,” says Dr. Sanul Corrielus, a board-certified cardiologist. “By close contact, I mean within six feet of the person who is an active carrier of the coronavirus. It does not necessarily mean that you have to be hugging or kissing in order to catch the virus.”
“Something you may have never thought about that you touch often throughout the day (whether you’re inside or outside) are your eyeglasses. Your glasses have a high touch surface area and oftentimes it can also carry a lot of germs,” says Dr. Jennifer Tsai, a VSP network eye doctor. “Coronavirus can live on hard surfaces for up to three days, which is why it is so important that you clean your glasses properly to make sure that we can protect ourselves and stay healthy.”
“Everyone holds onto the railing with their dirty hands, but people can get sick, and cough and sneeze they’re viral particles onto their hands and or railings, which then get transferred to the next person,” says Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD,a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills, in private practice at SkinSafe Dermatology and Skin Care. “Need to hold on? Keep your gloves on for good measure, or carry a bottle of alcohol-based gel sanitizer to use when you get to the top or bottom of the ride.”
“Everyone uses their dirty fingers to touch the smudged, dirty, communal credit card swiping device, stylus or payment touchscreen,” says Dr. Shainhouse. “Remember not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth before having a chance to wash your hands with soap at the sink, or applying and alcohol-based gel hand sanitizer, in order to prevent catching viruses.”
“Pressing the button to obtain your parking ticket, and later reinserting your ticket/credit card and using the payment screen or buttons for payment is very germy,” says Dr. Shainhouse. “Keep a bottle of alcohol hand sanitizer inside the side pocket of your car to clean your hands once you are done (and before you touch your steering wheel!)”
“To prevent touching germs and catching bugs, which could leave you suffering from the same cough, cold, fever, aches and or chills,” advises Dr. Shainhouse. “Consider opening doors with your sleeve, gloves, tissue or paper towel, and an alcohol-based gel sanitizer to wash your hands afterward.”
“You should also be wary if you go into any shops or buy produce from farmers markets that other people have touched and are open to bacteria,” says Dr. Aragona Giuseppe, GP and medical advisor at Prescription Doctor. As the virus can live on surfaces for hour or days, be sure to thoroughly clean your fruits and vegetables before eating them, to avoid any contamination.
“Sharing food or drinks puts you at risk because you could be sharing these items with someone who may have COVID-19 and not know it,” says Robert Gomez, epidemiologist and COVID-19 expert at Parenting Pod. Someone could be asymptomatic, and you could be putting yourself at unnecessary risk.
And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.