Right now, just turning on the TV can be stressful. The constant news reports about the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is fraying the collective nerves of the entire country.
Now more than ever, it’s important to remain calm. The key to all of us making it through this crisis is preparation, not panic.
Keeping yourself safe is easier than you think. Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare reminds you that by following just five simple steps, you can do your part to help protect yourself, and help to limit the spread of COVID-19 through our community.
1. WASH YOUR HANDS. A LOT.
It may seem almost too simple, but just washing your hands can go a very long way toward keeping you healthy. And yes, there is a right way to wash your hands.
When: As often as possible. Before you eat. After you use the restroom, cough, or sneeze.
How: Under warm or cold water, with soap if possible, and for at least 20 seconds. The top, the palms, in between fingers—everywhere. Even if soap isn’t available, wash your hands.
2. STAY HOME IF POSSIBLE
Because COVID-19 spreads from person to person, remaining at home can be key. Self-isolation not only helps you and your family avoid infection; it can slow the spread of the virus through the community. This can limit the number of cases in our community and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Avoid unnecessary travel.
3. PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING
“Social distancing” is sure to be 2020’s phrase of the year. We are now seeing and hearing it everywhere, but it’s important to know exactly what “social distancing” really means. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines social distancing as “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.”
“Mass gatherings” have now been defined as groups of more than 10 people. Remember, COVID-19 has a long incubation period and many of those who carry the virus may not be experiencing symptoms.
4. COVER COUGHS AND SNEEZES
COVID-19 can spread through respiratory droplets in the air after a cough or sneeze. Don’t spread your germs. Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands if you can. Instead, use the inside portion of your elbow. If you cough or sneeze into a tissue, throw that tissue away immediately. And of course, be sure to wash your hands afterward.
5. CLEAN YOUR HOME OFTEN
Spring cleaning has never been so important. Many of us are spending a great deal of our time indoors; use that time to thoroughly clean high-touch surfaces in your homes. Not once, but often. Counters, tabletops, doorknobs, phones, keyboard, and especially bathroom surfaces. If you touch it on a regular basis, make sure to disinfect it. Follow the instruction labels on household cleaning sprays.
The spread of COVID-19 has caused a great deal of disruption for everyone, complicating many aspects of daily life. But protecting yourself from the virus is simple. By following the guidelines of the CDC and local healthcare facilities, we can all get through this crisis together.
For more information, visit Methodisthealth.org/coronavirus.