Today is World Health Day. I think we can safely assume that health has been a topic at the forefront of everyone’s minds as we face the COVID-19 pandemic and the many dramatic changes that have occurred (and continue to occur) as a result.
World Health Day has a theme every year, and this year it’s dedicated to the hardworking nurses and midwives fighting on the frontlines for general public health. To celebrate the day and these brave people, keep up with the most recent guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on how to keep others (and yourself) safe during this crisis. Here’s a rundown of what you should do:
The best thing you can do to protect yourself and others is staying home as much as possible. The vast majority of states have “shelter-in-place” orders in effect, which ask citizens to hunker down in their houses except for essential purposes like grocery shopping. You can look into local regulations for your specific city, county, or state to figure out what this means for you. The main thing is to stay at home as much as possible and avoid all social activities. We all have to make sacrifices at this time, but these sacrifices are saving lives and will help this nightmare end sooner.
Follow social distancing guidelines
You’ve been told to social distance a million times now, but it does help! WHO recommends at least three feet of distance between you and every person, while the CDC recommends at least six feet. Aim to leave six or more feet between you and another person if you have to go out. It’s important to understand this doesn’t include those who live in your household (unless they’re experiencing visible symptoms). Social distancing protects you from infectious droplets a sick person can spray for several feet if they’re coughing or sneezing. Since it’s hard to tell who could be infected, it’s safer to keep your distance.
Wash your hands
Yes, that thing your parents have been imploring you to do since you were a kid. It really helps and is one of the easiest precautions to take. Be sure to wash your hands after you’re in public for any reason and whenever you come into close contact with frequently touched surfaces. Basically, wash your hands as much as possible, and be careful about what you’re touching.
Don’t touch your face
Your hands touch a lot of dirty things, so think twice before rubbing your eyes, nose, or mouth. Doing that can transfer the virus directly into your body and puts you at a greater risk for becoming infected. It’s difficult to avoid those nearly automatic touches to your face, but try to stay vigilant.
Wear a mask in public
At first masks were only recommended for those who were COVID-19 positive, but now the CDC and WHO are recommending everyone wear masks at all times when in public. This is still optional in most areas of the United States, but it’s not a bad idea to make a quick DIY mask. Use a bandana or other cotton material you have around your house with a couple of hair ties and you’re good to go. Making masks yourself will ensure you’re not taking critical N95 masks away from the dwindling health care supply.
Isolate yourself if you feel sick
You may not feel terrible if you have the coronavirus; many people have mild symptoms or may not show any symptoms at all. However, just because you have mild symptoms doesn’t mean that someone you transfer the virus to will have the same experience. For this reason and for the safety of everyone, isolate yourself.
Also, seek medical care if you have an exceptionally high fever or are having difficulty breathing. Be sure to call your doctor before going in for an appointment; they can help you to determine whether or not you need to come in and how to do so safely.
All this information can be quite unsettling, and you may be feeling a lot of anxiety right now, but together we’ll get through this! Follow your state’s guidelines as well as the guidelines of the CDC and WHO. And remember to thank the health professionals in your life today; it’s good to be grateful for their services and sacrifices on World Health Day and every day.
The CollegeXpress Team would like to sincerely express our gratitude and appreciation for all the medical professionals putting their health second to fight this pandemic. Thank you!