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Staying Safe Outside During Coronavirus

Staying Safe Outside During Coronavirus

How To Stay Safe Outside During Coronavirus

It’s once again Earth Day. The weather is beautiful and yet in sunny North County San Diego the parks and beaches are empty, no surfers in the water; no hikers or mountain bikers on the trails.

Welcome To Another Episode Of The Twilight Zone (Aka 2020).

Stay at home orders are in effect across the country for COVID19.  The good news is that in San Diego County, we have done a great job staying home. It appears our efforts are working and saving lives! These efforts need to continue.

The bad news is that rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse and inactivity are likely increasing.

We desperately need activity and specifically outdoor activity for mental and physical health. Here are some tips for getting outside safely:

1. Don’t Be Afraid To Get Some Fresh Air

This is a time when it can be scary to go outside. However, if we follow the CDC recommendations it can be safe even for those at higher risk (elderly, immune compromised, etc.)

When we say stay at home, it does not mean stay inside all day. This is bad for us. It can take a heavy toll on our mental and physical health. Even prior to Stay at Home orders, Americans spent too much time 93%! of the day indoors. That’s too much!

Going outside, even just for 20 minutes, has several health benefits. It can improve mental health and stress. It can increase Vitamin D, improve memory and increase energy.

Consider This Your Permission Slip To Get Outside!

2. Have Mask And Sanitizer On Hand

We should take our mask or cloth-covering wherever we go.

If there is no one close, we can take that mask off and breathe some fresh air. The masks are helpful if we cannot maintain physical distancing guidelines (>6 feet of separation). Otherwise they get in the way!

It is also important to have hand sanitizer on hand. It is easy to touch a compromised surface without thinking.

3. Don’t Be Reckless

Injuries make up a significant number of ER visits. These are often from recreational activities and driving accidents.

If we get hurt while recreating, we can potentially take up a bed that may be needed for someone who needs it. Mountain bike, surf and other outdoor organizations have released COVID19-related statements. Group sports carry the risk of injury and viral spread and should continue to be avoided.

Avoid taking unnecessary risks. We need the ER free’d up right now.

4. Take Advantage Of Early Mornings

The chances of avoiding crowds and finding solitude is greater in the mornings.

If mornings haven’t been for you, it may be time to start a new habit. I recommended reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod for advice on jump starting your morning.

5. Follow Local Guidance

To facilitate the recommendation of physical distancing, most communities have closed areas of public gatherings. These include our normal havens of parks, lakes and beaches.

Restrictions won’t be in place forever and local areas are easing up. When restrictions are lifted, it will be important to practice physical distancing, hand washing, and often facial covering. Many of the restrictions were put in place because we weren’t following these simple things!

Watch closely for updates in Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista and surrounding areas.  Let’s act safely so we can keep our privileges, save lives and prevent a resurgence of the virus!

In summary, we know outside will help improve our physical and mental wellbeing. Let’s do it safely, responsibly and not miss another beautiful day. Happy Earth Day!

Feeling Distressed, Depressed, Anxious or Concerned?

If you are feeling distressed, depressed, anxious or concerned we are here to help. Please set up a Telehealth appointment to discuss options. Telehealth appointments can be done with a computer or a smart-phone. We’ll come up with a personalized plan together.

Stewart Wilkey, D.O., M.P.H.




Victor M. Dalforno, M.D.

Diplomate, American Board of Pediatrics
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