Should you? What if someone breaks the social distancing bubble and comes within six feet of you? How can you touch things less with your hands? As around the world, the way will change, so it’s a good idea to think about how you’ll keep yourself and your loved ones healthy during a prolonged period.
If you’re not part of a vulnerable group, becoming a hermit isn’t necessarily the solution, either. It’s beneficial to periodically leave the house to maintain yourand run critical errands, but there are measures you can take when coming within spitting distance of people outside the household.
The risk of becoming seriously ill from over 1.4 million of those are in the US. Since the coronavirus is highly contagious and can be passed along , it’s important to stay alert.won’t go away until society , or . There are currently more than 4.3 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, and
Don’t get too comfortable
Globally, the number of coronavirus cases and yes, deaths, is going up, not down. Plenty of world and local leaders warn that, while some growth rates may seem like they’re slowing in pockets, a second wave of infections could be even worse.
“If we all pull back, we could see a second wave that makes this pale in comparison,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said last month.
Even as nonessential businesses and public spaces reopen, it’s important to remember that the coronavirus threat hasn’t disappeared. Just because restrictions are lifted, doesn’t mean you won’t acquire COVID-19 or pass it on to someone else. Here are seven things you should.
Wear a face mask in public places
Six weeks ago, wearing a face mask when going out in public was purely voluntary. In many places, it still is, though thein areas with high transmission rates, and in places where people can’t maintain social distancing of six feet. The recommendation applies to or .
Some counties and cities are— typically when you gather somewhere around other people, like in a store, and not while you’re alone in your car, or taking a walk where keeping six feet from others is easy to do. At the very least, it’s a good idea to keep a face covering on hand if for no other reason than to avoid a stranger’s side eye or a lecture at the store.
Here’s what you need to know about.
Don’t make shopping trips a source of entertainment
The point of COVID-19 symptoms is long and frightening for (like my cousin), even if they do recover, which can take weeks.is to keep you from transmitting the virus to others or acquiring it yourself. Yes, , but the list of
The bottom line: You don’t want this, and you want to limit your exposure to others. So. Now’s the time to get what you want and get out, not to browse aisles as a way to pass the time. Entertain yourself .
Enough with the fingertips: Use your knees, feet, elbows and knuckles instead
If you’re still pressing buttons for walk signs with your fingertips, stop. Any time you have to open a door, push a button, pull a lever or digitally sign for something, use a different body part instead. You have plenty.
For example, I’ll often tap out a PIN code or make a selection on a digital screen with my knuckle instead of the pad of my finger. I’ll push open a door with my shoulder, hip or foot instead of my hands.
You can usually flip on a light switch or sink faucet with your elbow or wrist, and you can wrap the sleeve of your sweater or jacket around the handle of any doors you have to physically pull open. It’s easy enough to toss your clothing into the wash later rather than expose your skin now, especially if the chances you’ll use your hands to touch food items or your face is high.
Distance, distance, distance
Social distancing can mean anything from hunkering down at home and refraining from seeing outside friends and family in person to keeping a boundary between you and others when you do go out. The practice of keeping six feet away from those outside your home group extends to waiting in line at the grocery store, going on walks (you can momentarily walk in the bike lane if you’re careful about looking out for street traffic) and picking up food to go.
If you need to keep more distance between you and someone else while on a walk or when reaching for an item at the store, take a step back and wait or politely ask the person to give you more clearance. (“Oh, I’m trying to keep my distance from everyone.”)
Look for the automatic option
If the doors to whichever building you’re entering aren’t already propped open or have automatic sensors, look around before you pull a handle. Most modern buildings have accessibility buttons to open doors for people with mobility concerns. You can easily touch this with your forearm, hip or foot (some are pretty low down) and wait the few seconds for the doors to open.
Consider buying an automatic soap dispenser for home so you don’t have to worry about transferring germs to the pump.
Watch where you put your phone
While, another smart idea is to avoid placing your device on iffy surfaces to begin with. Do you really need to put your phone down, or can you just stash it in a coat pocket or purse? The less you can expose your phone to shared surfaces, the less you need to worry about them in the first place.
If you do put your phone down on a shared surface, say if you’re paying for takeout, lay down a napkin and set your phone on that. It’ll save you having to disinfect your device quite so often.
Set aside your reusable tote bags
Increasingly, store policy excludes you from bringing outside tote bags and other bags into grocery stores. If you want to lessen your environmental impact, find ways to reuse the store’s fresh bags at home.
The stores I shop at continue to make baskets and carts available, and only some offer sanitary wipes. Others have assigned gloved staff to wipe down carts and baskets for you with disinfectant, before you shop. Others still are spraying your hands with disinfectant before you enter a shop.
Regardless, it’s a good idea to thoroughly wash your hands withbefore you leave home to protect others, bring your own sanitary wipes if you have them and the store doesn’t offer that option and be sure to wash your hands when you get home. Really, we can’t stress that enough.
Don’t sort through produce with your bare hands
At a time when face masks are increasingly common in stores and shoppers will give you the side eye for rummaging through lemons, here’s a little advice: Don’t poke the bear.
When sorting through food, use a glove or stick your hand inside a fresh, store-supplied bag. Then you can use the outside like a glove to pick up and inspect the garlic and bananas you want, so as not to touch every item with your bare hands. It’ll make others feel more comfortable, and is just as likely to inspire them to follow suit.
Whatever you do, touching’s off limits
Look, if they don’t live in your household, don’t touch them. Most of us are observing this dictum by now, but on the off-chance you see a friend or family member, resist the urge to hug, tap elbows or get anywhere closer than six feet. Air hug if you have to. Blow a kiss (minus the actual exhalation). We havethat keeps you and loved ones safe.
For food and package delivery, embrace the awkward
Keeping your distance means that you’ll need to get comfortable speaking through closed doors and hanging back rather than rushing forward to help the person delivering you packages, mail and food. For example, if you happen to be outside, it’s not rude to let the mail carrier walk all the way up to the front door and place the mail in the box rather than take it directly — it’s appropriately cautious for the times, and helps protect you and them by keeping your distance.
Equally, if a food delivery person or neighbor drops something off, give a warm thank you through the closed door and wait for them to recede six feet before opening to door to thank them again and wave. They’ll appreciate your consideration and seriousness.
Wash your hands every time you get ‘home’
Along with social distancing, washing your hands thoroughly is one of your best defenses against acquiring coronavirus. Give your hands a thorough scrub each time you get back. 20 seconds is the going recommendation, which may seem like ages, but if you wash slowly, it’s easy to do.
I count five long seconds (one-one-thousand) of soaping each hand, in between the fingers and up to the wrists, then count another five seconds for washing each hand thoroughly to get the soap (and any dead germs) off. I often wash the soap dispenser pump and faucet handles, too.
That helps me feel safe enough to adjust my contacts, blow my nose and pick that nagging something or other out of my teeth in the comfort of my own space.
Don’t neglect your car and home
After getting back from running errands, it doesn’t hurt to wipe down your car and surfaces in your home, especially if you share it with others. Person-to-person contact is the most common vector, but viruses and bacteria do spread through objects and other forms of indirect physical contact. Here’s our guide for.
Carry extra napkins, disinfecting wipes and facial tissue
Packing extra tissues, disinfecting wipes, wet wipes and other paper products in my purse is already part of my habit, but now I pay extra attention to how much paper I have on hand.
Normally, I might use a spare napkin to wipe my hands after an impromptu snack (also in my bag). Today, these products could come in handy to clear away germs, or act as a barrier between you (or your phone) and a surface. For example, opening a door handle if you just saw someone cough into their hands before turning a knob.
Stop handling cash
While it’s believed that the highest risk of acquiring coronavirus comes from person-to-person transmission, we do know that shared surfaces can harbor the virus. Play it safe by setting the cash aside for now and relying more on contactless payments. Some businesses are even refusing to take cash as a safety measure for employees.
A large number of payment terminals accept Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and credit cards with the contactless logo on them. And remember, if a digital signature is required, you can use your knuckle instead of your index finger. For a physical signature, start packing your own pen.
Banish questionable items to a long time out
Coronavirus can cling to surfaces, such as your jacket or a tabletop, for up to nine days at room temperature, studies have found. However, the CDC found that the coronavirus RNA remained in cabins about the Diamond Princess Cruise ship up to 17 days after passengers departed.
We know that a thorough cleaning with good ol’ soap and water will kill the virus’s structure, but if you’re not sure how to disinfect an item, like a dry-clean-only jacket or pair of boots, setting it aside for three or four weeks is another option.
Read on for, if a and more information about .
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.