Another Pandemic Summer
By Colleen Sholar, DO, FAAFP
As we are approaching the second summer of this pandemic I am reminded of all the reasons we moved to Idaho, and probably the reasons you live here too, there is so much to do that is naturally physically distanced and outdoors. Our hopes of things returning to what we want to consider completely “normal” anytime soon, is uncertain as we have a lagging vaccination rate which is only going to allow more variants to pop up. As I write this Idaho’s North Central Health District reports 37% of those over the age of 16 have received at least one dose while Idaho in general is at 44% and the nation is at 55%. If you would like to receive a COVID Vaccination, we have them available at Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics for everyone over the age of 16. Call 208-476-5777 to schedule.
So, needless to say, a summer filled with crowded sporting events, amusement parks, and airports doesn’t sound like a great idea, but thank goodness we live where we do, those were less likely to be our plans anyway. Here are a few activities and their respective safety considerations.
Hiking- This is a great way to get outdoors, enjoy the natural beauty of our region and get ourselves moving. All you need are some supportive shoes, something to carry some water and pick a well-marked trail. I do encourage you to hike with a friend or family member and if you are feeling adventurous, let someone know where you are going so someone knows where to look for you if you don’t check in at the appropriate time.
Boating- With the reservoir I know many of you spend the weekends on the water. Please wear a life jacket and remember alcohol can impair your judgement.
Swimming- Once the river is warmer and levels are down everyone will want to flock to their favorite beach. Wear a life jacket, closely supervise your kids, and remember that alcohol can impair your judgement.
Horseback riding- Please wear your helmet and appropriate footwear.
ATVing/dirt bikes- There are so many trails in the area for you to enjoy but remember to wear appropriate gear including boots, chest protection and a helmet. This is a sport best enjoyed with a friend or family member in case anything were to go wrong and you need help.
Huckleberry picking- it’s not that time yet but it will be soon enough! Watch out for bears.
Camping- Campground or distributive camping, plan to bring clean water, appropriate clothing for the weather, your prescription medications, and have a plan in the case of an emergency because as we all know cell phone coverage is not reliable.
Whether you are planning an adventure or doing chores around the house, remember your hat and sunscreen. Skin cancer is common, one in five people will develop a skin cancer by age 70. Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk of developing a melanoma and 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to UV light. It’s a good idea to put your sunscreen on each morning because you don’t know where your day will take you!