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Infectious disease specialist offers tips for keeping your family safe and healthy at the pool this summer


Hanging out by the pool is a beloved summer pastime, but COVID-19 has changed the way we live and play in 2020.

Still, many Kentuckians are craving a cool dip as summer temperatures rise.

In May, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that some public pools could open by the week of June 29, albeit with protocols in place for the safety of swimmers and employees.

And home owners who have postponed vacations during the pandemic have been buying up pools for their own backyard escapes.

But before you take a dive into a pool this summer, there are steps you can take to make your swim as safe as possible and lower the risk of COVID-19 infection, says Dr. Daniel Rodrigue, an infectious disease specialist affiliated with Baptist Health Lexington.

“While there is no evidence that the coronavirus can be spread through water, crowds sitting and standing around a pool can be a concern,” said Rodrigue. “You can’t wear a face mask in the water, but if you’re sitting outside the pool, remember to social distance and wear a mask as often as possible. Also, at places such as a public pool there are frequently touched surfaces such as handrails and tabletops. These need to be disinfected frequently.”

The following are tips suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and approved by Rodrigue to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19 during the summer swim season:

• Wash hands often and cover coughs and sneezes.
• Wear a mask when possible.
• Practice social distancing and stay at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with.
• Do not share personal objects such as goggles, nose clips, and toys such as floats.
• Bring your own supplies, such as hand sanitizer, for proper hygiene.
• If you’re showing signs of the virus, be sure to stay at home.

You can still enjoy the summer months and outdoor activities by following these guidelines.

“These safety measures are the new normal to protect yourself and others,” said Rodrigue. “With any outdoor activity during COVID-19, the guidelines should be the same: Keep a safe distance and be sure to wash your hands to stop the spread of the virus.”

From Baptist Health Lexington

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