With COVID-19 ravaging its way across the globe and creating havoc in our communities, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction on this fast-moving virus. How do we keep our family, friends, the public, and ourselves safe?
There are a number of personal measures you can take to stay safe during this unprecedented time:
Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others who live outside your home, especially when social distancing is not possible. Many mask options are available to best suit your needs:
- N95 Masks: Named appropriately, the N95 mask is designed to block 95% of very small particles, including infectious pathogens. This mask offers the most protection to consumers as it filters both large and small particles. Many essential workers are required to wear these masks, as they have proven to be one of the most effective consumer products in slowing transmission.
- Surgical Masks: The surgical mask protects the user's nose and mouth from contact with droplets, splashes, and sprays that may contain germs. It is somewhat effective at filtering out large particles, but may allow smaller particles to permeate.
- Cloth Masks: COVID-19 is dangerous because it can be transmitted without symptoms, so wearing any type of mask is better than no mask at all. If you do choose a cloth mask, wash and dry it on high heat for 20 minutes every day.
- Gloves: Using gloves is crucial for many people in various industries such as healthcare, hospitality, production, etc. Wearing gloves can reduce the transmission of infected surfaces and help protect the wearer.
COVID-19 is an airborne virus and can spread through coughing, sneezing, and close contact. By minimizing the amount of close contact we have with others, we reduce our chances of catching and spreading the virus.
- 6 Feet Apart: Experts recommend staying 6 feet apart from others as a general rule to avoid breathing in the air that others breathe out. This suggestion is based off a viral dichotomy model created by epidemiologists. In simpler terms, 6 feet is a roadblock between you and your neighbor’s coughs, sneezes, saliva droplets, and contaminated air. Limit your contact and keep your space to ensure safety. Social distancing is important for all, but those who are at higher risk should be especially cautious about social distancing.
- Personal Hygiene: Just like during any normal cold and flu season, remember to wash your hands. Sanitizer is effective as well. However, proper handwashing is one of the main ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Keep in mind that each community’s situation is unique. Be sure to follow the guidance of local recommendations and laws provided by the government and health care officials as outbreaks in your area are monitored. Remember, if you show symptoms or have been in contact with someone who recently tested positive, self-quarantine and get tested to protect your own health and ensure the safety of others.
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