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Infection Prevention and Control experts at Lakeridge Health share summer safety tips

Infection Prevention and Control experts at Lakeridge Health share summer safety tips

Infection Prevention and Control experts at Lakeridge Health share summer safety tips

Infection Prevention and Control experts at Lakeridge Health share summer safety tips

Staff Story

10 COVID-19 Summer Safety Tips from Lakeridge Health experts

Infection Prevention and Control experts at Lakeridge Health share summer safety tips

As our local Durham Region communities opens up after months of strict physical distancing measures, Lakeridge Health Foundation caught up with our Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) team here at Lakeridge Health.

Here, our IPAC professionals share some tips for keeping yourself and your family safe and happy this summer.
Please remember, the below tips to these FAQs are suggested and not medical advice. As things change daily during COVID-19, recommendations could be subject to change. Please visit Durham Region Public Health website for the most up-to-date information and COVID-19 recommendations (Durham Region COVID-19 Update).
We have provided more resources for you at the bottom of this article.

The COVID-19 virus is primarily spread by close proximity with other people. As our Durham Region community opens up and we begin going out again, what is the best way to minimize risk? Here are your FAQ:

  1. Should I wear a mask when I’m outside? Inside?

A mask is an easy and effective way to contain any breathing droplets. When you are in shared spaces, especially indoors, everyone in the shared space should wear a mask in addition to physical distancing and frequent handwashing.
Effective July 10, 2020 wearing a non-medical mask or face covering is mandatory in all commercial establishments, such as stores or restaurants, throughout Durham Region. Exceptions to this ruling are people who are unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons and children under two-years-old.
  1. How often should I change my mask?

You should change your mask if it becomes:
  • wet,
  • damaged, or
  • soiled.  
  1. I use a cloth mask I made myself, how often should I wash it? What is the best method?

A cloth mask should be treated similarly to other personal clothing items. Wash your mask after every use!
A cloth mask can be included with your regular laundry in a washing machine or washed by hand (there are step-by-step washing instructions for you below).  
After washing, allow your cloth mask to dry completely by using a dryer or by laying the cloth mask on a flat surface and, if possible, in direct sunlight.
Additionally, it is important to wash your hands before putting on the mask or taking it off.  Avoid adjusting or touching your mask. Ensure your mask is well-fitted and do not share your mask with others. 
  1. Should I be wearing gloves when I go out? Is washing my hands enough?

Gloves are not recommended as they pose a risk of cross contamination.
Wearing gloves when shopping or in public spaces will not necessarily protect you from getting COVID-19 and will impede your ability to clean your hands properly.
The best way to protect yourself is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use alcohol based hand sanitizer. Ensure you clean your hands often and carry a personal hand sanitizer with you.
  1. Do I need to wear a face mask when I’m riding a bike? In the pool? When I’m hiking? What about when I’m playing sports?

When participating in independent activities outside a mask is not necessary but if you cannot maintain physical distancing while outdoors a mask should be worn.
Team activities like soccer and basketball may be difficult to participate in while wearing a mask and following physical distancing recommendations. It is best to participate in team or sporting activities with people that are in your social circle. A social circle includes people from your household and people you come into close contact with. 
Hand hygiene is also recommended for all participants and if you are not feeling well, stay home.
  1. Do I need to social distance when I’m walking or running with friends?

Physical distancing is still recommended to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community. 
Stay at least 6 feet (or 2 metres) from other people, avoid crowded places and limit close contact with individuals outside your household. Exercise at home or go for walks in your neighborhood with members of your social circle while maintaining social distance from other people.
  1. Are swimming pools safe during the summer?  Should I be worried about my kids being in the water with other kids?  What about the beach?  Our hot tub?

Follow Public Health Recommendations on which local areas are open and safe to use. These recommendations may be based on your local community transmission. Swimming in general does not present a risk, but remember to follow physical distancing and stay within your social circle while enjoying these type of activities.
  1. When my kids are getting together with other kids this summer as things open up, what should I keep in mind?

Hand hygiene, physical distancing and the use of masks or face coverings are all ways to protect yourself; however, masks are not recommended for children under the age of two-years-old. 
Ensure that you are avoiding close contact with anyone with symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
Consider outdoor play while maintaining physical distance or virtual play dates and remind kids to clean their hands often. Ensure children are not sharing items such as food, drinks, or toys that could be contaminated. Additionally, shared items should be cleaned after use.
  1. How often should I be cleaning surfaces in my home? Especially high-touch areas like door handles, light switches, faucets, car steering wheel, cellphones and remote controls?

High touch surfaces in your home should be cleaned daily.
Ensure to both clean and disinfect bathrooms and other areas of your home if a visitor is in your house. Increase frequency of cleaning if there is someone in the home who is ill.
  1. Should I be wiping my groceries and other purchased items down when they bring them home. Is this a good idea?

There is no evidence that food or food packaging play a significant role in spreading the virus.  Protect yourself while shopping by:
  • wearing a face covering or mask,
  • using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer,
  • disinfecting the shopping cart,
  • choosing a touchless method of payment if possible,
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth and,
  • stay at least 6 feet (2 metres) from others while shopping or waiting in line-ups.
When you get home from shopping it is best to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Further resources for you and for your loved ones: