Coronavirus (COVID-19): 8 Ways to Protect Yourself and Others
March 20, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) has just officially declared the Coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic.  Fear of the unknown and media hysteria have some preparing for Doomsday, while others refuse to play into the hype.

Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, here are 8 simple things you can do to protect yourself and others that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) concurs with:

  1. Wash/clean your hands. Use soap and warm water, while singing the tune of ‘Happy Birthday’ two times.  This should equate to 20 seconds.  Scrub under your nails, between your fingers, your palms and wrists, as well as the backs of your hands. If you don’t have access to soap and water, an alcohol-based hand sanitize will suffice; however, choose one that has an alcohol concentration of at least 60%.  Ensure that you are washing your hands often, and especially after sneezing, coughing, blowing your nose, before food preparation and eating, and/or after using the restroom and touching common surfaces that are shared with others.
  2. Don’t touch your face, specifically your T-Zone (eyes, nose, mouth area). Specifically, do not touch your T-Zone with unwashed hands!
  3. Avoid contact with people who are sick, or appear to be sick with respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, and/or short of breath).
  4. Stay home if you are sick – don’t be a hero. Do not spread your illness to others.  If you are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills or fatigue, stay home until you are no longer contagious.  The CDC recommends that an individual be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
  5. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough. Cough or sneeze into a tissue and discard the tissue in the trash.  If tissues are unavailable, cough or sneeze into your elbow and immediately wash your hands with proper hygiene discussed in paragraph 1.
  6. Wear a facemask if you are sick and are going to be around others or are going to the doctor’s office, so that you do not spread your illness to others. If you are not sick, you do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick and they are unable to wear a mask.  Wearing a face mask unnecessarily can cause supply shortages for healthcare workers who require facemasks at all times to safely perform their job duties.
  7. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily. Such surfaces include light switches, door knobs, faucets, computer keyboards, phones, tables, handles, desks, countertops, spigots and toilets.  Use an EPA-registered disinfectant; however, ensure that the disinfectant is appropriate for the surface.
  8. Distance yourself from others if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. Think twice about unnecessary social obligations.  Can they be postponed to a later date?

All these suggestions are logical and can help to protect us, our community and those who are immune-compromised.  We can all practice most of them without a significant disruption in our daily life until the pandemic subsides.

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