April 3, 2020
Coronavirus is here. It is in cities and towns everywhere, but because of the shortage of tests at the moment, it’s impossible to know for certain who has it and who doesn’t. Many people who are infected show little to no symptoms, so it’s possible that people are walking around and unwittingly exposing others to this virus.
So, what are we to do? How do we behave? We have to eat, get supplies, and some of us have essential jobs and need to go into work. So how are we supposed to protect ourselves and others from the virus when we’re unable to completely isolate ourselves?
Here are some of the best practices for coronavirus prevention and inhibition:
Staying home except when absolutely necessary is an important step to keeping the spread of the virus low. Rather than going to visit family in person, call them on the phone or arrange a video call. Instead of going out to the movies, stream from your favorite service or pop in a Blu-ray. If someone invites you to do something, politely decline and inform them that you will join them once it is deemed safe by the CDC.
Wash your hands often and thoroughly. You should use warm water and rub for at least 20 seconds, making sure to cover your entire hand – front, back, and in between your fingers – from your wrist to your fingertips. This will lift the virus, should it be there, off your skin, and wash it safely down the drain. Also, be sure to use hand sanitizer if you are unable to get to a sink and soap. Coronavirus breaks down in contact with hand sanitizer that has more than 70% alcohol, so it is an effective means of halting the spread of the virus.
Coronavirus enters your body through the eyes, mouth, and nose. If you avoid touching your face, then that severely limits the chances that you will contract the virus. One effective way to stop touching your face is to wear a mask. Most medical-grade masks are desperately needed by doctors, nurses, and other professionals, so using something as simple as a bandana to remind yourself to not touch your face is effective.
Surfaces that are touched regularly should be washed and disinfected on a regular basis, or after anyone touches them, ideally. You can use a diluted bleach solution, an alcohol-based cleaner, or many other EPA-registered household disinfectants. A more comprehensive list of cleaning recommendations can be found here.
If you absolutely must see people who do not live in your home, make sure that you keep a distance of at least six feet from them. Also, the CDC recommends that no more than 10 people are in the same place so make sure that you avoid any large gatherings. The more people that gather, the more likelihood there is that someone is infected and can spread it through close proximity. As stated above: whenever possible, stay home.
If you have symptoms, it is important that you contact your medical provider to determine if you should be tested for coronavirus. Not everyone needs to be specifically tested for the disease, so that decision is best made with the advice of a doctor. You may have a common cold, the flu, or some other illness that needs different treatment, so be sure to get checked out.
While there is no surefire guarantee to preventing coronavirus contraction, these guidelines are a strong step towards keeping yourself and others safe. If everyone follows these best practices, then our society will stay as healthy as possible and we can keep the most vulnerable among us safe from illness.