10 Simple Things to Help Prevent COVID-19
All of us are used to the odd cold or bout of flu over the winter season; however, the recent novel coronavirus in 2019 has caused a global pandemic, unlike anything we have experienced in our lifetime. Despite sharing some similar symptoms, COVID-19 and the flu are caused by very different viruses. Educating yourself on the differences between these two infectious respiratory illnesses is important in keeping yourself and others safe.
Life and how we live it might feel slightly out of our control right now, but there are some practical things you can do to stay healthy while being your best self and living your best life under the circumstances.
1. Stay at home
Even the introverts amongst us are getting twinges of cabin fever at this point. However, if you’re staying at home as much as possible, you are doing the most important thing you can to keep yourself and your community safe. Popping out to the shops to pick up that one item you forgot is not considered an essential excursion, nor is aimlessly browsing the supermarket aisles because you are bored and needed a change of scenery. By staying at home, isolating yourself from others, and automating as much of your life as possible, you are not endangering lives or livelihoods.
2. Wash your hands
The golden rule of 2020 is to wash, wash, and wash again. Wash your hands before, during, and after food prep. Wash hands again before eating. Wash hands again before and after caring for someone who is sick or changing a baby. Wash hands after using the toilet, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Wash your hands after touching your pets or their food. Wash your hands after handling the garbage. If in doubt wash your hands…if not, wash them anyway! Hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent yourself and others from getting sick. We know that 20 seconds seems like a long time, but the bottom line is so is the recovery period for COVID-19.
3. Try not to use your hands at all
If you’re out and about with no opportunity to wash your hands, try to avoid touching anything. Use your knuckles to push buttons; your foot, arm, or hip to open doors; your elbow to flip light switches. Turn produce bags inside out and grab what you need instead of touching groceries with your bare hands. Pull your sleeve over any public door handles and throw the item of clothing straight in the washer or dryer when you get home.
4. Wear a mask
If you do need to run errands or get some fresh air outside, keep your distance from everyone, wear a face mask, and don’t touch anything unnecessarily including your mask. For those of you not used to wearing a mask, it is just another thing your hands desperately want to fiddle with on your face. Resist the urge! Whether you are wearing a Cambridge PRO mask that can filter almost 100% of pathogens and pollution out of the air or a DIY pro that you knocked together using that old bandana that’s been lurking in your closet since the 90s, any mask is better than no mask at all. Wash your hands prior to adjusting your mask comfortably on your face and don’t touch it again until you’ve washed your hands before taking it off or fixing the fit.
5. Keep your distance
It’s a little awkward out there right now. We cross the road when we see others, skirt around people at the supermarket, and generally treat those lovely delivery people as if they have the plague. What feels rude is saving lives. Your delivery workers are grateful for your yells of thanks through your closed door, no offense but they don’t want to go near you either. Make sure you wait until they have moved to a safe 6ft/2metre distance away before opening the door and collecting your things. Missing the simple comfort of human touch is natural at this time, but we all have a social responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe. Set up social media hangouts and keep connected with others from a distance to ensure you’re only physically apart from the people closest and dearest to you.
6. Clean your devices
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There’s probably nothing grosser than your beloved smartphone. Studies have found more than 25 000 germs per square inch on the average smartphone. That’s at least 10 times more than the average toilet seat. Once you’ve washed your hands, don’t simply start scrolling through social media. Douse your phone in disinfectant as often as you wash your hands, or, what’s the point? We live in an age where our phones have become almost like another body part…but are you keeping your phone as clean as you should and helping break the cycle of infection? Try not to lay your phone on any questionable surfaces and keep disinfecting wipes handy to clean your device regularly.
7. Use contactless payment
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Speaking of smartphones, you should stop using cash immediately wherever possible and opt for contactless payments if you can. Since COVID-19 particles can linger on surfaces, it is best to avoid having to touch anything unnecessarily. Most credit and debit cards have a contactless option but if yours doesn’t then check out your bank’s website to see if you can get a new card. Otherwise, Google Pay, Apple Pay, WeChat Pay, and Samsung Pay are easy enough to set up so you don’t need to push your PIN into a germy payment terminal when buying your goods. It’s also best to take your own pen with you if your signature is required on anything.
8. Consider your clothing
If you’re not doing this already, make sure to leave your shoes outside or at the door of your home. Do not wear any footwear indoors that could potentially track virus particles into your home unless it has been thoroughly washed or disinfected first. The same goes for your clothes, if you’ve used your clothes while out and about to avoid touching a surface with your bare skin, those clothes will need to be washed before being worn again around your home.
9. A tissue…bless you!
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It’s no joke for some people that seasonal allergies didn’t get the message about this global respiratory pandemic going on. Cambridge PRO can act as a barrier against those irritating airborne particles that send your immune system into overdrive. However, if you have the urge to sneeze or cough without your mask, do so into a disposable tissue or your elbow and wash your hands immediately afterward. COVID-19 is believed to spread easily from person to person through droplets in the air when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes.
10. Support your physical and mental wellbeing
Don’t go outside, except you’ll still need to exercise. You can’t see your friends, but you’ve got to stay social and support your mental health. The rules around all of this seem confusing and contradictory. We’ve overhauled our existence in just a few short weeks and it’s natural to be feeling a bit lost, alone, and empty enough to eat the entire freezer’s worth of food that’s supposed to keep you going for the next month. Depending on where you live in the world, you may still be allowed to walk outside once a day keeping a distance from other people. If not, make sure you’re able to do some exercise by organizing a virtual yoga or fitness meet up with your friends from the safety of your living room. If there’s any sliver of a silver lining in this whole situation, it quite possibly is that it happened during a time in which technology allows us to be together even when we are apart. We still need one another even though we need to be apart.