Most states now have a “shelter in place” order due to the spread of COVID-19 otherwise known as the "coronavirus". However, individuals still need to leave their houses from time-to-time, whether it be grocery shopping, doctor’s visits, and/or the occasional walk around the neighborhood. Regardless, extra precautions must be followed. In this blog, we cover 3 tips to help you stay safe while on the go during COVID-19. Use these safety tips when grocery shopping, picking up essentials at other stores, or even going out for a walk around the neighborhood.
1. WEAR THE NECESSARY PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)
While social distancing is important, it’s sometimes impossible to always follow. If you’re leaving your house, there will likely be moments when you will come closer than six feet away from another person. Whether it's at the grocery store, on a walks and/or runs, or even in your own home, you may need to interact with another person. In all of these situation, it is critical to wear one or several pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE).
PPE consists of various items such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles. Each piece of PPE equipment serves as a protective barrier between your body and pathogens like COVID-19 which can spread through coughing, sneezing, or by touching one’s own eyes, mouth, or nose after touching a surface touched by an infected individual. Though each piece of PPE is important, not all pieces are always a necessity. Gloves, goggles, and gowns only need to be worn in and around confirmed COVID-19 patients in close quarters and should be reserved for healthcare providers if possible.
However, one piece of PPE that should never be skipped is the mask. As modes of transmission for coronavirus are becoming better known and the rampant presence of asymptomatic carriers has become apparent, the CDC now recommends the use of cloth face masks outside of the home.
2. OBSERVE SOCIAL DISTANCING WHERE POSSIBLE
Social distancing is now a necessary requirement when interacting with people outside your home. Based on CDC guidelines, social distancing involves maintaining a safe distance of at least 6 feet from anyone around you. The CDC has further suggested not to gather in large groups and staying out of any place that might be crowded. Due to these guidelines, many places of business that have to remain open including doctor’s offices, doctor's offices, autobody shops, and certain other retail location have implemented queues to allow only a few people into a property at once.
Even with these guidelines in existence, it’s still important to observe social distancing both inside the store and outside. Perhaps try to structure your shopping experience based on the positions of other people in the store. For example, if someone is standing near a shelf or in a tightly confined aisle that you’re trying to access, wait and go to another area of the store. Lastly, when at checkout, always try to maintain a safe distance between others in line.
3. ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS
Something as basic as washing your hands is a critical preventative measure against COVID-19. Washing your hands is important both before leaving your house and when returning. When you leave the house, your hands come into contact with many foreign objects such as groceries, door knobs, payment interfaces, bags, and more. Of course it is also vital to not touch your face if possible but even if you do manage to not touch your own face, you may touch other items in your home and spread the virus that way.
So, you may ask "What’s the solution?" The answer is WASHING YOUR HANDS! After coming into contact with foreign objects, washing your hands can keep you from spreading contaminants to yourself or those around you. It is recommended to wash them the moment you get home after errands or if, you can, the moment you leave a store and again at home. If you can't wash your hands immediately then have a bottle of hand sanitizer easily accessible in your vehicle. So you might think that is an easy resolution. Not always. While you may consider yourself an obsessive hand-washer, you may be mistaken. Many people neglect to wash their hands thoroughly enough to remove harmful substances like bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants. Case in point-be mindful and make washing your hands a ritual or habit.
These practices and more can help eliminate and/or reduce the potential to contract COVID-19. When it comes to stopping the spread of this deadly disease, staying home whenever possible is the way to go. Give us a call at Help-A-Heart CPR at 210-380-5344 for more information on preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Tracy A. Jones is an American Heart Association, ASHI, and American Red Cross Master Program Trainer, Instructor, & AHA Faculty Member located in San Antonio, Texas.