A Summer Like No Other: How to Stay Safe and Healthy This Season

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Summer lawn with Child

If you’ve been hearing the phrase “the new normal” lately and wondering what it means, the writers of the Oxford Dictionary define it as “a previously unfamiliar or atypical situation that has become standard, usual or expected.” (1)

Summer this year is going to be a little different than it has been in years past, but there are ways to safely and healthily enjoy the season. Here are some recommendations on how to prepare your health for the coming months.

Avoid Large Gatherings

The long days and warm weather naturally tend to pull us outdoors for cookouts, campouts, and fireworks displays. These occasions often involve bringing people physically close together.

COVID-19 is primarily spread by people who are in close contact with one another. Some of the people we encounter this summer might be sick and not know it. Here are some alternative suggestions for getting together with people safely this summer:

  • Go see a drive-in movie or find ways to recreate the experience at home. Drive-in movies are popping up in parking lots across the country.
  • Practice physical distancing. If you choose to attend outdoor events like fireworks displays, watch the display from a distance and away from other people. Wear a cloth face covering.
  • Attend virtual gatherings using video chat or conferencing instead of physically gathering with others
    in person.
  • Go camping in your backyard. Set up a tent. Roll out the sleeping bags. Roast marshmallows. Enjoy the comforts of your own bathrooms.

Play Safely

Staying physically active is one of the best ways to keep our minds and bodies healthy. In many areas, you are still be able to visit parks, trails, and open spaces to get some fresh air, decompress, and safely connect with others. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for safely visiting parks and recreations facilities this summer:

  • Do call or go online first to make sure the location is open to visitors.
  • Do stay close to home. Visit parks and pools which are near you.
  • Do follow community considerations if your children play sports this summer.
  • Do keep a physical distance of at least 6 feet away (or about 2 arm lengths) from others.
  • Do not visit parks if you are sick with, tested positive for COVID-19, or know you were recently exposed to COVID-19.
  • Do not visit crowded parks or recreational facilities this summer.

Approach Water Activities a Little Differently

As summer temperatures rise, so will our interest in cooling off. Water activities tend to attract groups of people, which makes taking precautions all the more important. Here are some tips for how to safely enjoy public pools and water playgrounds this summer:

  • Wear a cloth face covering as feasible. Do NOT wear cloth face coverings in the water.
    Cloth face coverings can be difficult to breathe through when they’re wet.
  • Wash your hands Cover coughs and sneezes with the inside of your elbow.
  • Stay home if you are not feeling well, have tested positive for COVID-19, were recently exposed to someone with COVID-19, or if you were exposed to someone who has symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Learn basic swim skills (i.e., floating, moving through the water).

Tried and True Tips

Now that we’ve covered a few new recommendations for staying safe and healthy this summer, there are a few tried and true tips that bear mention every year. Here are a few Prepare Your Health essentials that will help you enjoy this summer to the fullest.

Beat the Heat

It doesn’t matter whether you’re physically fit or young and healthy. Heat-related illnesses can impact you. Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. Here are some ways to avoid overheating.

  • Know how to #BeatTheHeat if the power goes out: Go to a cooling center or other air-conditioned place if you do not have AC at home. Air conditioning is the #1 protective factor against heat-related illness and death. While you are there, . Cooling centers will also be .
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothes.
  • Cut down on exercise when it’s hot outside.

Don’t Let the Bugs Bite

Spending time outdoors can bring you in close contact with mosquitoes and ticks. Mosquitoes and ticks are hungry, and they like to bite people. Protect yourself from mosquito- and tickborne diseases like West Nile virus and Lyme disease.

  • If you find a tick, don’t panic and avoid folklore remedies, such as “painting” the tick with nail polish. Instead, use fine-tipped tweezers to remove the tick.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and clothing treated with permethrin, a type of insect repellent.
  • Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent. (2) When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Leaves of Three? Let it Be!

Poisonous plants, such as poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac, can be found from coast to coast. Exposure to these unpleasant plants can fill your life with itchy despair and unsightly rashes. Follow the tips below to prevent this from happening.

For more information on how to prepare and protect yourself from COVID-19, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.



Thanks in advance for your questions and comments on this Public Health Matters post. Please note that the CDC does not give personal medical advice. If you are concerned you have a disease or condition, talk to your doctor.

Have a question for CDC? CDC-INFO (http://www.cdc.gov/cdc-info/index.html) offers live agents by phone and email to help you find the latest, reliable, and science-based health information on more than 750 health topics.


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4 comments on “A Summer Like No Other: How to Stay Safe and Healthy This Season”

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

    Going through summer this year has been a challenge for me and my kids. I’m used to taking them to recreational areas, water parks, and family functions. I did not think COVID 19 would still be around this long. As a nurse, I continue to educate patients on the importance of mearing a mask, washing their hands, and avoiding large crowds. I encourage patients to still take COVID 19 seriously as it is still affecting a great number of people in hospitals. Finding alternative activities can have a positive impact on mental health for parents and kids.

    Spending time outdoors can bring you in close contact with mosquitoes and ticks. Mosquitoes and ticks are hungry, and they like to bite people. Protect yourself from mosquito- and tickborne diseases like West Nile virus and Lyme disease.

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Page last reviewed: July 6, 2020
Page last updated: July 6, 2020