Reduce your chance of contracting communicable diseases

Distancing yourself from others and maintaining good hygiene is the best defense for reducing your chances of contracting any illness:

  • Wash your hands frequently with biodegradable soap at least 200 feet from water sources. When soap is not available, use hand sanitizer that contains 60-95% alcohol.
  • Avoid sharing food. Do not eat out of the same food bag, share utensils or drink from other hikers’ water bottles.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Use the crook of your arm (inner elbow) or use a tissue and dispose of it using Leave No Trace principles.
  • Keep some distance between you and other hikers whenever possible, especially if anyone shows signs of being sick. Avoid shaking hands or other close contact — instead, elbow bumps or waving are safer ways to greet others.
  • Avoid congregating in groups along the trail.
  • If you are an older adult or have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes or lung disease, you are at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 contraction. Hike and camp away from others to minimize the likelihood of infection.
  • If you begin feeling sick, stay away from others and get off the trail until examined and cleared for return to the trail by a medical professional.

(With thanks to our colleagues at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.)

Photo donated by Justin McCormick.

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