For many people who do not fall into the “at risk” groups, the questions isn’t so much “How can I protect myself from coronavirus,” but rather, “How can I protect others from coronavirus?” Elderly individuals and individuals with compromised immune systems are most likely to contract the virus and experience severe, life-threatening symptoms, such as breathing difficulties and pneumonia-like symptoms. They are the people who need your help keeping the virus from their doors.
What can you do to protect others in your community? You don’t need to don a superhero cape and assume an alias. Rather, you just need to be smart and practice common sense.
Though the Centers for Disease Control and the federal government are urging everyone to practice social distancing and stay home until COVID-19 passes, they are especially adamant that sick people stay home. If your symptoms are mild, self-quarantine yourself, take over-the-counter medications and wait it out in the comfort of your home. Only seek medical care if you develop more severe, pneumonia-like symptoms.
When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth or nose with a tissue or inside of your elbow. If you use a tissue, immediately throw it in the trash. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water after sneezing or coughing to kill any germs that landed on your hands.
Again, if you’re sick, wear a facemask if you must go out in public or share a space with others. If you cannot, for whatever reason, wear a facemask, do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes.
If you are not sick, you do not need to wear a facemask. In fact, the CDC urges you to save the facemasks, which are in short supply, for health providers, as they are the ones that need them most.
Finally, clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces in your home on a daily basis. Those include doorknobs countertops, light switches, tables, desks, phones, toilets, sinks, faucets and keyboards.
Your diligence at this time can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable in your community. The sooner you and others do your role, the sooner life can resume as normal.