With the rising COVID-19 numbers, it’s more important than ever to practice social distancing and be cautious when out in public places. From the CDC, we’ve collected some tips on how to continue to protect your health.
Make a Plan:
As a family or household, make a plan so everyone is on the same page. If you have older adults or people at risk of severe illness, discuss strategies to keep these people safe and what to do if they get sick. People at higher risk of severe illness include adults 65 years or older and people of any age who have serious underlying conditions.
- Stay informed of COVID-19 updates in your local area from public health officials. Pay special attention to what your local officials recommend to keep your family and community healthy. In the “Stay Informed” section below, you can find links to some of our local health departments. Check with your county’s health department regularly to stay up-to-date.
- Discuss and agree on how everyone will protect themselves in and out of the home.
- Choose a room in the house or apartment that could be used to separate sick household members from others.
- Create a list of local organizations you and your household can contact if you need access to information, healthcare services, support, or resources.
- Create an emergency contact list including family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, healthcare providers, teachers, employers, and other community resources.
Build Daily, Preventative Habits:
Even as people go out more, preventative habits are still important to practice. These habits can help you stay healthy long-term and protect you against future flu seasons or other viral illnesses.
- Wash your hands frequently, such as before and after you eat and after you leave a public area. If soap and water is not available, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow. Wash or sanitize your hands immediately afterwards.
- Regularly clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces like cabinet handles, doorknobs, keys, and wallets.
It’s important to stay informed, especially on the local rates of infection in your area. Staying up-to-date can help you make decisions about when to go out, for how long, and where. It’s also important to know what your community health professionals recommend if you are feeling sick and where to go to get help.
- Learn what to do if you are sick and concerned about COVID-19.
- Check the CDC’s guidelines on what to do if you’re sick.
- Contact a health professional before trying any self-treatments of COVID-19.
- Know where and how to get treatment and other support services.
- Contact your local health department or your primary care physician to learn more about where to go to get treatment and what other support services might be available to you.
If possible, order online or arrange curbside pickup. If you must shop inside a store, continue to use the following safety precautions:
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others while shopping and in line.
- Use a cloth face covering when going out in public.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Try to go shopping during hours when fewer people will be there, such as early in the morning or late at night.
- If you are at a higher risk for severe illness, contact the store and ask if they have special hours for people at higher risk.
- Use a hand sanitizer or wash your hands often, especially after touching items that others may have touched like store products, shopping carts, or pin pads.
- Do NOT use disinfectants meant for hard surfaces like bleach or ammonia on food packaged in cardboard or plastic wrap.
- Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds after unpacking any food or products you brought home.
- Regularly clean and disinfect your kitchen counters and any other surfaces where you frequently place shopping bags, purses, wallets, or high-touch items.
Cope with Stress and Anxiety:
It is perfectly normal to experience fear, stress, and anxiety about the COVID-19 pandemic. You may feel this anxiety more on some days and less on others. If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, try coping in a healthy way, such as:
- Taking breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories.
- Staying informed is good, but hearing repeatedly about the pandemic can be upsetting. Try placing a limit on how often or how long you want to be on social media in a single day.
- Taking care of your body.
- Taking deep breathes, stretching, or meditating.
- Eating healthy, well-balanced meals (see the CDC’s recommendations for eating healthy meals).
- Getting regular physical activity. Even doing chores around the house can help you stay active and feel better. (see the CDC’s guidelines on how much activity people at different ages need and how to incorporate exercise into your daily routine)
- Try to get plenty of sleep. (see the CDC’s tips on how to get better sleep)
- Avoid excessive alcohol and drug use.
- Making time to unwind.
- Try to spend time doing activities you enjoy.
- Connecting with others.
- Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Try talking regularly with others to help each other avoid feeling disconnected or lonely.
- Connecting with your community or faith-based organizations.
- Many communities, faith-based and secular, have created new ways for members to connect with each other online, through the phone, or by mail.
For more information, or for links and phone numbers to immediate help in a crisis, see the CDC’s article on coping with stress
Many of these habits are helpful for maintaining your physical and mental health generally as well as during the pandemic. It’s also important to be aware of what the businesses you frequent are doing to keep their staff and customers safe from COVID-19. Many companies have posted a statement about what they’re doing on their website. You can find our statement here. At Haven Healthcare, our #1 priority is to keep our staff and clients safe and healthy.