How to Assess Your Personal Risk of Covid When Choosing Activities

Available for Interviews: Dr. Tammy Penhollow

Dr. Tammy Penhollow is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, specializing in anesthesiology, pain management, and regenerative medicine. Having over 20 years of experience has helped her to cultivate a passion for regenerative medicine and holistic healing. Dr. Penhollow practices at Precision Regenerative Medicine in the greater Phoenix area.


What Dr. Tammy Penhollow can say in an interview:

  • Every individual has a different risk of contracting COVID-19, and that risk level is not static but changes based on the activities and choices of the individual.
  • We’ve learned what underlying health factors put us at increased risk and they include: advanced age, lung disease, a weakened immune system from cancer, autoimmune disease disease, vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, and corticosteroid use.
  • We are aware of high risk exposure through work—”front line” store clerks, delivery drivers, healthcare workers, and police/fire/EMS. What we’re not sure of is how to address reengaging with the world as the economy begs for participation, and as people themselves are yearning for social contact after months of distancing.

1) What is the social activity and where is the activity? Indoors is higher risk than outdoors. Fewer people present is better than larger gatherings.

  • For example, at restaurants I recommend being seated outside and only eat there if the tables are at least 6 feet apart and there’s not a lot of foot traffic in front of your table. The wait and service staff should be masked, as should you (and your guest), except when actually eating. Wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer you’ve brought with you) after you touch the menu, if you touch the salt/pepper shaker, to clean your credit card if you’ve handed it off, if you use a pen to sign the check. Alternatively, meet friends or family outdoors at a home or a park and bring your own picnic and plenty of hand sanitizer.
  • Children at camp, birthday parties, outing with friends: outside is better than inside activities. Think large groups inside a pizza parlor versus kids outside at a park or even a large backyard with thoughtful placement of chairs, maybe individually wrapped plasticware, plenty of hand sanitizer and a sink for washing with soap/water when hands are visibly dirty. Prepare your children ahead of time to continue to have good hand hygiene, send them with a mask and their own hand sanitizer. Don’t send them if they’re running a temperature >100.0F

2) Who is the activity with? High risk versus low risk participants including yourself. As a healthy person without any comorbidities, I may be lower risk in a social setting than someone undergoing cancer therapy or who is older. But if, for example, I’m also a healthcare worker, exposed to 40 patients and staff each day (even if we’re taking precautions and using PPE), I’m at a slightly higher risk of being an asymptomatic spreader of the disease and may not want to expose my elderly grandmother or cousin with rheumatoid arthritis who is taking immunotherapy and is on steroids.

3) If you’re on the fence about going out or allowing your child to go to a social event, consider going and allowing yourself time to assess the situation: even if I had reservations at a restaurant, or a barber’s appointment and they said all these safety measures were in place, I would arrive and observe: Are people wearing masks? How many people are being allowed in what square feet of space? If it looks okay, and you and they are wearing masks, go ahead. If you do not feel comfortable with something you see at a restaurant, hair salon, etc., say why and leave.    

In the end, every person is different and each situation they are placed can be evaluated on its own and the answer may change from day to day. Is it a want? I want to go to the coffee shop with a friend and sit outside to catch up in person. Is it a need? I need to go to work in person every day because I’m a frontline worker. Or is it both? I want and need to see my family for the first time in 3 months because I miss them and I’m getting depressed by only spending time at work and home. Mental health is important and we’ve all taken on the emotional and physical stressors of the pandemic and the economic crises. 


Interviews: Dr. Tammy Penhollow

Dr. Tammy Penhollow practices at Precision Regenerative Medicine in Scottsdale, Arizona, where develops individualized treatment plans for musculoskeletal and spine interventions with PRP and bone marrow aspirate using image guidance, as well as micro-needling with PRP for skin, hair and anti-aging conditions. She also stays active in teaching as an Instructor in Anesthesiology for the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and as a Supplemental Consultant for the Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.

A former active duty US Naval Officer, Dr. Penhollow has lived, practiced, and has been deployed around the US and overseas. She embodies the lifestyle she recommends to her patients and is an active hiker, gardener and yogi as well as a French trained home chef and an aspiring sommelier.

Jo Allison
Managing Editor
Director of Public Relations
Success In Media, Inc.

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