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Summer’s here – stay safe!

Image of Coast Guard employee talking with man on boat Summer means spending more time enjoying outdoor activities. The CDC has recommendations for safely spending time in public during the pandemic. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony L. Soto)

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As many states enter various phases of reopening, families may wonder what they can do during the summer to have fun while protecting their health and the health of others in the middle of a pandemic.

If you are sick, exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been exposed to someone diagnosed with the virus, stay home. In general, interacting closely with others outside your immediate family over a prolonged period of time increases the risk of spreading COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To slow the spread of COVID-19, the CDC recommends practicing social distancing, remaining at least 6 feet apart, wearing cloth face coverings, and washing your hands often.

With this in mind, summer still means spending more time enjoying outdoor activities. The CDC has recommendations on going out and spending time in public during this time, including social and personal activities. If your summer plans include travel outside of your local community, read the CDC travel considerations before leaving.

Little girl in goggles swimming in pool
Summer is often a time for outdoor activities. Remember to apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 that has UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) protection before and after swimming. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tommie Horton)

Some local and national parks are open. Current military service members and their families, as well as reserve and National Guard members, can obtain a free annual pass to visit national parks. Try to visit parks closer to home and avoid crowded parks where it can be difficult to maintain social distancing. You may want to call ahead to check if bathroom facilities and other services are available.

The same social distancing guidelines apply when visiting pools and beaches. While there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread through water activities, the CDC recommends maintaining a distance of six feet with others when swimming. Avoid crowded pools, beaches, and play areas and wear a cloth face cover when not in the water.

Drowning is the fifth-leading cause of death among people of all ages, and a leading cause of death in children under the age of 4, according to the CDC. Closely supervise children playing near the water. Make sure everyone wears a life jacket when swimming in natural bodies of water.

Summer is often a time for outdoor cookouts and activities. Whether you’re enjoying bike rides, hikes, walks, or outdoor sports, remember to protect your skin and eyes when spending time in the sun. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause damage in as little as 15 minutes, according to the CDC. Sun damage accumulates over time, so make sure to protect children from an early age. Put on a hat, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirt, and pants covering the legs for protection. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 that has UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) protection. Keep reapplying sunscreen throughout the day after swimming or sweating.

Check out the Military Health System’s summer safety page for more information to keep you and your family informed and safe this season.

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Active duty, 1985-1999; Reserve, 1985-1999; National Guard, 1985-1999; Civilian applicants for service; Program summary, U.S. Army, 1999; Selected sentinel reportable events, June 1999; Selected sentinel reportable events, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, June 1999; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Histoplasmosis outbreak, U.S. soldiers, Panama; ARD surveillance update; Supplement #2: Reportable medical events; Quarterly update, all reportable conditions, 1999; Sentinel reportable diseases, 1999 (vs. 1998); Sentinel reportable STD's, 1999 (vs. 1998); Active duty force strength (March 1999); Supplement #1: Update: HIV-1 screening, US Army.

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MSMR Vol. 5 No. 6 – August/September 1999

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Eye injuries, active duty soldiers, 1993 – 1998; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Ankle injuries, active duty service members, 1990 -1998; ARD surveillance update; Causes of injury and poisoning hospitalizations, U.S. Army, 1998.

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MSMR Vol. 4 No. 5 – July/August 1998

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Late presentations of vivax malaria of Korean origin; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, July 1998; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, July 1998; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; ARD surveillance update; Hyposmolality related to excessive water consumption; Trends in hospitalizations due to mental disorders; Supplement #1: Update: HIV-1 testing in the Army; HIV-1 testing, Active duty , 1988-1998; HIV-1 testing, Reserve , 1988-1998; HIV-1 testing, National Guard, 1988-1998; HIV-1 testing, civilian applicants for service; HIV-1 tests, summary, U.S. Army, 1997; Supplement #2: Reportable diseases; All reportable conditions, 1998; Sentinel reportable diseases, 1998 (vs. 1997); Sentinel reportable STD's, 1998 (vs. 1997); Active duty force strength (March 1998).

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MSMR Vol. 4 No. 8 – December 1998

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MSMR Vol. 4 No. 6 – September 1998

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Morbility surveillance, field training exercise, Thailand; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, August 1998; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, August 1998; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Outbreak, rapidly-growing mycobacterial infection; ARD surveillance update; Foodborne outbreak, Salmonella gastroenteritis.

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MSMR Vol. 4 No. 2 – February/March 1998

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A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Back pain hospitalizations among active duty soldiers, Part 1; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, January 1998; Selected sentinel reportable diseases, 2 year trends; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, January 1998; Reportable sexually transmitted diseases, 2 year trends; Leprosy in an active duty soldier; Influenza outbreak, U.S. Navy, Hawaii; ARD surveillance update; Transfusion-transmitted P. falciparum malaria.

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