7 Things You Absolutely Should Not Be Doing With Friends Right Now
From sharing food to mascara, these activities should be avoided right now if you want to stay safe.
With states starting to reopen across the U.S., many people are eager to get their lives back to normal, starting with seeing the friends they've been steering clear of for weeks or months. However, with coronavirus cases still on the rise in certain areas, getting back into the swing of things with your social circle may be a riskier proposition than you think. With the help of doctors, we've rounded up the potentially dangerous activities you shouldn't do with your friends for the foreseeable future. And if you want to stay safe, set your sights on these 5 Overlooked Places You Can Actually Go During Coronavirus.
You shouldn't share food.
Going halvsies on a dish with your friend or letting them take a bite off your plate is an activity you'll just have to put on the back burner for now. "The virus is contagious enough that contaminants from your saliva or even just your hands can end up infecting your friend, or vice versa," says Patricia Celan, MD.
If you simply can't resist the urge to share, naturopathic doctor Stacy Mobley, NMD, MPH, says that using disposable plates and cutlery can help. "If your friend wants to sample your dish, retrieve a clean utensil to remove some from your plate and place it on theirs," she recommends.
You shouldn't work out together indoors.
It's going to be quite some time before you and your friends can safely hit up an indoor fitness class together again. Celan cautions against working out indoors with your pals for the time being, as all that heavy breathing in a closed environment has the potential to spread the coronavirus.
Just how serious is the risk? In Cheonan, South Korea, an indoor dance class led to 112 people contracting COVID-19. Wondering where else you could be passing the virus to others? These Are the Worst Coronavirus "Super Spreaders" You Need to Know.
You shouldn't share clothes.
You may have to wait quite some time to safely do a clothing swap with your friends again. "Unless any of those items have been untouched by one person for a while and will continue to be untouched after they are returned by the friend, sharing these things can mean sharing a possible infection," explains Celan.
She also cautions against sharing jewelry, which could easily be contaminated, too.
And you shouldn't share cosmetics.
While many people know that respiratory droplets can spread the coronavirus, it's only recently that research has emerged regarding the potential for ocular secretions to spread the virus, too. As such, Celan cautions against sharing personal products, like eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick, with your friends that could have come into contact with your unwashed hands, your saliva, or your tears.
"In fact, sharing cosmetics and personal products is unadvisable even when we're not in a pandemic," Celan explains. "Regular infections can arise from sharing, for example, mascara." And for more behaviors that could be putting you at risk, here are 7 Coronavirus Mistakes You're Making That Would Horrify Your Doctor.
You shouldn't do karaoke.
For now, you should spend your time perfecting your rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'" before debuting it at karaoke with a close-knit crowd. Celan calls doing karaoke with friends "a risky choice" because of the close contact and shared equipment typical in most karaoke setups. "One person who may have COVID-19 and not have symptoms yet could easily pass it to a friend by being in such close contact," she explains. Exhibit A: The choir practice in Mount Vernon, Washington, that resulted in 52 of the 61 attendees contracting COVID-19. Tragically, two even died as a result.
You shouldn't use a hot tub together.
Even on a good day, hot tubs are veritable petri dishes—in fact, according to a 2011 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 21 percent of hot tubs sampled were positive for antimicrobial-resistant bacteria.
Unfortunately, during a pandemic, there's an additional layer of harm you could encounter by taking one of those supposedly relaxing dips. "You could easily pass the contagious coronavirus to each other if either of you happens to have it prior to being in such close proximity," explains Celan. And for more on where you should and shouldn't take a dip, check out: Can You Get Coronavirus From a Pool? Experts Weigh In.
You shouldn't share a bed.
Those sleepovers—platonic or otherwise—are a definite no-go until a vaccine and herd immunity are established, Mobley says. "You cannot tell if someone was around someone who was sick and he or she is still in the incubation period," she explains. "This is also an act of kindness for those who live and interact with you on a daily or consistent basis." And if you want to start socializing safely, check out these 7 Ways to See Your Friends Safely As Lockdown Ends.