You’re going to tell me you know all of this stuff. But people are still getting infected with COVID-19 so I’m going to share these tips anyway. The essence came from the WHO, CDC, American Red Cross, and WebMD; and I edited everything with my own perspectives.
See, I assume I am asymptomatic. It heightens my awareness and forces me to be vigilant. This belief doesn’t cause anxiety. Rather, I’m being safe by protecting myself and others. I hope these precautions will help you and yours too.
1. Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds. Wash all over — the palm, the back, the grooves in between your fingers, and the tops of your fingernails.
2. Sanitize your hands with a mixture of 60% alcohol when you need to wash them but if you’re not near a sink. Carry sanitizer wherever you go. A tiny drop can work for the entire hand.
3. Prevent yourself from touching your mouth, nose, or eyes, unless your hands are washed or you’re in a clean space.
4. Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Or, into a tissue if you have it handy. Always wash or sanitize your hands (and elbow) after.
5. Stand a minimum of 6 feet away from people.
Dr. Paul Pottinger, an infectious disease specialist with the University of Washington, explains:
“The biggest threat – we think – with the coronavirus is actually the larger droplets. Droplets of saliva, snot, spit. Droplets that almost look like rain, if you will, when someone sneezes. Those droplets are large enough that gravity still acts on them. Usually, within about six feet of leaving somebody’s body, those larger, more infectious droplets will drop to the ground. That’s where the six-foot rule comes from.”
6. Wear a cloth face covering, such as a mask, for anyone over age 2. People with shortness of breath should not wear masks.
7. Be aware that anyone, including yourself, can be asymptomatic. This indicates being contagious without symptoms. In fact, assume you are.
8. Throw out or sanitize all food wrappers. If possible, transfer the contents into your own bags or bowls. Always sanitize anything going into the freezer because the cold has no effect on the virus. When in doubt, cook the food because temperatures over 160 F kill the virus.
9. Rinse produce when you’re ready to eat it with cold water or a brush.
10. Clean and disinfect commonly-used household surfaces, such as doorknobs, sinks, toilet handles, phone screens, keys, credit cards, TV remotes, and computer keyboards. Don’t forget about the door handle, steering wheel, gear shifter, and similar objects in your car.
11. Remove your shoes every time you come inside, and keep your shoes near that door.
12. Put a clothing hamper near the door for items such as cotton and polyester masks. I bought this hamper in red. It’s unlikely for the virus to stay on fabrics for more than a few hours, but you can be the judge if something needs to be washed.
13. Use disposable gloves (or tissues) when touching potentially dirty surfaces, such as ATM buttons. Or, touch everything with your hands but get ready to sanitize them (and everything else you touched).
14. Think ahead when you need to do actions in public. For instance, if you need to insert or swipe a credit card, then you should assume the device is dirty. Hold the card with a protected hand, then place the card in an unused pocket so you can sanitize it before putting the card back in your wallet or purse.
15. Stay home if you feel ill. We have our own experiences of what that means and what we do to cure ourselves. For instance, I routinely get allergies from springtime pollen and seasonal dust. Every morning, I take a herbal remedy and Vitamin D. And if I awake with a sore throat, I take an antihistamine and Tylenol.
16. Do not stay home if you have a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Those symptoms – together, and definitely a fever by itself – warrants a call to your doctor. That could be a sign of something serious.