While there’s no cure or guaranteed way to prevent catching coronavirus, there are a number of steps that you can take to reduce your risk of exposure. I'm an infectious disease physician at PicnicHealth. As an epidemiologist, I've spent spent my career studying how viruses are transmitted and treated. Here are a few common sense measures and thoughts to help protect yourself, your loved ones, and our community:
- Practice “social distancing.” This means significantly decreasing contact with other people to the extent possible. The phrase “flattening the curve” and the hashtag #FlattenTheCurve has been trending recently. It shows visually how the simple act of staying home can have a significant impact on the spread of infection and allow those who need care to get care. Until we have a vaccine or widely available treatment this is quite simply the best intervention available. This applies both to people who are at high risk of infection (those >60 or those with significant medical conditions), but also those who are young and healthy, but could spread the virus. Put simply, staying home saves lives.
- COVID-19 is not ‘just the flu.’ There is a lot of misinformation at this time. While most people who are infected with COVID-19 recover fully, the current situation is much more serious than the seasonal flu. This will not be easy, but the good news is that each of us has a role and ability to do our part to #FlattenTheCurve.
- Wash your hands regularly. This means more often than you probably normally would. I try to wash mine at least every couple of hours and everytime I touch something that may have been touched by other people (door handles, elevator buttons, etc.). Remember you need to wash your hands for twenty seconds. Yes, that’s a long time, much longer than the average person spends washing their hands, but it’s super important. Try singing a song. Happy Birthday sung twice does it, but here are some other ideas as well.undefined
- Sleep, eat healthy, and exercise. Keeping your body in better shape means that it is better prepared to fight off a virus. Getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy, and keeping your lungs and heart strong with exercise will give your immune system more strength.
- Check in on friends, family members, and neighbors, particularly those who may be at higher risk, but really anyone who’s routine has been interrupted by the current situation.
- Be prepared, but don’t panic. It’s normal to feel significant stress and anxiety around this situation, but we got this together.
Curious to learn more about the coronavirus? Get the basics on this bug and what’s being done to find a vaccine.