Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands!!! DO NOT place your hands to your mouth, nose, eyes and in your ear. These are all PORTALS OF ENTRY for the Covid-19 virus to gain entry to your body and cause infection. Any discussion about the danger of the Covid-19 virus must be first started by indicating that the best way to help arrest the spread of this pathogen is to insist that you wash your hands, use a lot of friction, wash up to your wrists, remove all your jewelry, wash your hands for no less than 20 seconds, force your fingertips into the palm of your hand to clean under your fingernails, use friction when washing between your fingers and then repeat this ritual multiple times a day. Do not get bored practicing this exercise in survival. It is important to note that the use of an alcohol based hand sanitizer is no substitute for hand washing; it is only a stopgap measure when you don’t have the ability to wash your hands thoroughly. Insist that visitors to your home or business first wash their hands when they enter your home. It’s OK to ask. You are not being rude, quite the contrary. You are showing the utmost respect as a host showing your concern for you company’s or customer’s wellbeing.
Normal practices are going to vanish for a while. DON’T shake hands when greeting someone. Respectfully decline and instead touch elbows or nod your head. These are challenging times and we must collectively meet the challenge of this danger among us. This is not the time to panic. It is never a time to panic. It is a time for effective, collective action. Take the time to show your kids how to wash their hands and make it a ritual. Kids respond to rituals and they like to follow the leader. Make it a game of who can wash their hands more. Tell them to keep count on the amounts of times they have washed their hands during the day and see who can ‘win’ the count. Let your young kids see you rush to the bathroom to be ‘first’ to wash your hands when you get home from school pick-up, a visit to Grandma and Pop-Pop (please wash your hands when entering any elder’s home. This virus is disproportionately impacting the elderly, especially with those who have underlying chronic diseases such as diabetes or hypertension). Your kids will run to beat you every day. Start this at the earliest time that your youngster can understand the need to wash their hands (3 years old).
When putting gas in your car, wear a glove. Wear a glove when placing your credit card in the slot, there are germs there. Wear a glove when handling the spigot putting gas in your car. Carefully take off the glove when entering the car without touching anything then before you touch your steering wheel, sanitize your hand. Yeah, I know…that’s a lot of steps, but once you get used to it, this becomes second nature. Just remember that viruses can live on surfaces for a long time and the amount of time this virus can exist on a surface is undetermined. Remember, THINGS HAVE CHANGED!!!
Businesses on Main Street, restaurants, grocery stores should make their bathrooms available for hand washing and stock the bathroom with soap and paper towels. Write this expense into your budgets and manage the bathrooms well. Businesses should schedule times during the day that they will clean the doorknobs leading to their store. Door knobs and handles harbor a vast among of germs and keeping this clean will go a long way to protecting your customers and staff. A simple solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water will suffice. Wash your hands after cleaning these surfaces.
If you have counters in your business, similarly clean these surfaces on a routine schedule. No less than once every ½ hour if it is a busy day. If, available provide a ‘Purell/ hand sanitizer station at the store entrance. You can gently ask customers to use the sanitizer upon entering your shop. If every store does this, it will become customary and not seen as an imposition. Normal Operating Procedure. We can do this.
Now for the virus. High fever, Shortness of Breath (SOB), difficulty breathing, coughing and cold symptoms, feeling like crap are hallmarks of this disease. See you doctor. If you cough or sneeze, please do so in the crook of your elbow or in a tissue that should be disposed of in the trash. Wash or sanitize your hands. Covid-19 is called a droplet infection and is carried primarily by germs in the droplets you sneeze or cough out. If you are symptomatic, it does not mean definitively that you have the infection but out of caution you could wear a surgical mask. For the uninitiated, regular surgical masks will NOT protect you FROM the illness but should be used by those who are symptomatic to reduce the amount of infection spread. Over -The Counter (OTC) N-95 designated masks will provide some protection against infection but these are not ‘Fit-Tested’ which means these masks are not specifically molded to your face so there still remains some risk for illness while wearing these OTC N-95 designated masks. Save your money! Self quarantine/isolation is not always practical but may be necessary in your own home to prevent the spread of this illness before seeing a doctor.
This is a PANDEMIC. Pandemics unfortunately have histories of coming in waves. During the Spanish Flu of 1917-1918, there was a first wave of illness, then it subsided, making everyone think that things were improving, but the virus mutated and came back more dangerous and deadly on the second wave. We must be cautious and vigilant. Be consistent in your approach to addressing this disease. Good consistent hand washing will go a long way to keeping you and your family and community healthy. This is by no means a complete list of things to do to protect you and your family and community but it will give you a start on how to think about this illness and our response to it.
For more information and updates click on the following links:
World Health Organization https://www.who.int
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)