August 5th, 2020 | Updated on November 10th, 2020
With more than half of 2020 now behind us, the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is still going strong in countries such as the U.S. Whereas, it has already started its second wave in various other parts of the world.
Since a vaccine’s availability is not on the cards for the near future, the only way to lower the spread of the virus is by following safety guidelines.
Fortunately, there is now enough data available about the novel coronavirus for health experts to outline relevant measures.
By adhering to practices such as physical distancing, washing your hands, and wearing a face mask, you can protect yourself and your family from COVID-19.
To help you comply with the practices properly, here’s a quick guide on how to approach each of these activities.
Learn About When to Contact a Doctor
The novel coronavirus is a respiratory disease, but it is known to affect other bodily functions. By understanding the relevant symptoms, you can learn when to call a doctor or seek a COVID-19 test.
The most common symptoms of a COVID-19 infection include:
- Tiredness or fatigue.
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing.
- Body ache or muscle ache.
- Loss of taste or smell.
- Sore throat.
If you experience any of these symptoms, make sure to self-isolate and reach out to a medical professional for further assessment.
In addition to this, you should not hesitate to call emergency services if you feel any of the following symptoms.
- Excessive difficulty in breathing.
- Chest pain.
- Extreme tiredness or confusion.
- Bluish hue on face including your lips.
It’s also important to understand that wearing a face mask does not affect your breathing negatively. If you are experiencing symptoms such as excessive shortness of breath, it is most likely due to a serious COVID-19 infection that needs urgent medical attention.
Practice Physical Distancing
One of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your family through the pandemic is practicing physical or social distancing.
Since the virus that causes COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets, anyone who comes in contact with an infected person is exposed to risk of contracting it. In order to lower these chances, you need to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from anyone who is not a part of your household.
Whether you are going for your daily walk or taking a quick trip for groceries, make sure that you are practicing physical distancing at all times. This is even more critical if you are immunocompromised or have a weaker immune system.
Physical distancing is also crucial if you have an older adult in your family. While those over 85 years of age are at the greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that your chance to experience a serious illness from the novel coronavirus increases with age.
With this in mind, ensure to make social distance a part of your regular living. Avoid large crowds and nonessential gatherings at all costs. Similarly, limit outdoor visits to important work, health, or domestic tasks only.
Wear a Protective Face Covering
According to recent data, an estimated 40-45 percent of COVID-19 cases can be asymptomatic. This means that these individuals show no symptoms of the disease. In addition to this, a large part of other novel coronavirus patients show mild symptoms that are easy to be dismissed as common flu.
This can make the coronavirus spread silently among the population, with the infected individuals not even knowing that they need to self-isolate or protect others from harm.
To fight this problematic scenario, we can all do our part in protecting others by wearing a face mask. A non-medical face covering such as a cloth mask can lower the amount of respiratory droplets that are released into the air, and help decrease the inadvertent spread of the virus.
While selecting between different face masks, make sure that the type of mask you choose covers your nose and mouth fully. Ensure not to take off your mask while in public settings, as that can infect the material itself.
Additionally, ensure that your mask isn’t made from a mesh material, as that wouldn’t lower the spread of respiratory droplets. Also make sure to stay away from medical masks such as N95 respirators, which don’t filter the air you exhale and consequently put others at risk.
According to studies, if everyone can establish mask wearing as a regular practice, it can effectively lower the spread of COVID-19 in local communities. This makes it a critical approach to follow in order to protect your family.
Wash or Sanitize Your Hands Properly
Another simple yet reliable way to protect yourself and your family is by washing or sanitizing your hands regularly. The practice doesn’t ask much from you, but it is quite powerful in its results.
Apart from respiratory droplets that travel through the air, the virus that causes COVID-19 can easily rest on surfaces. This is especially true for those areas that are widely used by the public. If you come in contact with such a surface and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with contaminated hands, you can contract the virus.
In order to protect yourself and your family from this risk, make sure to establish proper hand hygiene.
The good old method of washing your hands from soap and water is quite effective on its own. You simply have to scrub your hands with soap thoroughly for 20 seconds. You can then run the soap off of your skin using water. It’s as easy as it seems.
When hand washing is not possible, you can turn to a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent of alcohol content in it. You can then rub the sanitizer over your hands for 20-30 seconds to terminate any germs at the surface of your skin. This makes sure that you are killing off common germs and protecting your family from COVID-19.
From avoiding crowded gatherings to wearing a face mask, these simple practices can help you lower the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. As a result, you can keep your family and community safe through this unprecedented time.