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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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Traveling This Summer? Take Proper COVID-19 Precautions

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Monday, July 20, 2020   

SEATTLE -- Summer is a cherished time in the Northwest with families going outside to enjoy the sun and warm weather.

But the COVID-19 outbreak means folks need to keep some precautions in mind.

Dr. Peter Barkett, an internal medicine physician with Kaiser Permanente in Silverdale, says people who are traveling should consider how the virus is spread and not put themselves in situations that feel uncomfortable.

"Giving yourself a plan B or even a plan C so that if you get that kind of gnawing feeling or that voice in the back of your mind that says, 'You know, this might be the safest thing,' you have an idea of what else you can do," he states.

Barkett stresses large crowds are the biggest thing to avoid, and a gathering where a lot of people aren't wearing masks should be a red flag to avoid that place.

Barkett also suggests traveling with hand sanitizer and a box of tissues, which can be helpful opening doors at rest stops, for example.

Barkett points out the virus is spread through droplets.

"If you're in a confined space, then those droplets are more likely to hang around and increase the risk," he explains. "If you're outside and there's a gentle breeze going, then that is a lower-risk environment."

Barkett says he's seen COVID-19 and the stay-at-home orders take a toll on his patients' mental health and tells people to sleep well, eat healthy and exercise.

He emphasizes the role going outdoors can play in keeping us mentally healthy during this pandemic.

"It doesn't mean that we need to stay indoors all summer, but with a little bit of planning or preparation, I think that we can go outside safely and really take advantage of this beautiful nature that we have in Washington state," he states.

Barkett says people still should consider other summer dangers. He advises folks to wear sun protection, be safe in the water and with alcohol, and wear helmets while riding bicycles.

Disclosure: Kaiser Health Plan of Washington Project contributes to our fund for reporting on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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