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4 April 2020 | 6 min read

How To Help Others And Protect Yourself During Coronavirus

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At the beginning of the year, when you thought about what you would be doing during March and April, dealing with a global pandemic might not have even been on your list. But with COVID -19 completely shutting down life as we know it, we need a new blueprint to combat our current reality. 

Every day, new information—and consequently, more misinformation—is being spread about coronavirus, just how bad it is, and what we should be doing to prevent it from getting worse. 

With social distancing becoming the new normal and temporary shutdowns now a part of our daily routine, and the media being completely consumed with COVID-19, there’s a lot to comprehend—but the most important thing is to protect yourself and your family from the virus. Here are things you can do to help yourself and others during the coronavirus outbreak: 

Don’t Panic

While we understand that fear is a genuine and understandable emotion at this time, it is equally important to stay calm and not create a panic situation. With people running to grocery stores to overbuy utilities and essential items, it is necessary to remember that by doing so, we are only adding to the chaos. It is important to be aware and vigilant, but there is no need to panic. Plus, if you are fortunate enough to support those in need (either by supporting a business or loaning money/utility to someone in need), try to help as much as possible. Remember, we are in this together. 

Trust Only Verified Sources Of Information

Right now, there is a lot of information about COVID-19, from WhatsApp forwards to internet articles – that is why it is essential to take all of it with a grain of salt. 

Should you take the news that’s being covered with interviews from doctors and other credible sources seriously? Absolutely. But when your sister’s roommate posts on Twitter that hospitals are running out of tests or that this is an air-borne disease, pause and decide if it’s a valid concern from a credible source {includes WHO and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Maharashtra}. 

When your roommate is panicking about losing his job and coming up with a financial plan for his unemployment, it doesn’t mean you need to go down that road too. In such a scenario, we understand that it is hard to pause and separate what’s real with what’s not, so try to be extra calm and think things logically.  

Wash Your Hands—Really, Really Well

One of the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus is by washing your hands. According to the WHO, you should be following these five specific steps to clean your hands effectively.

  • “Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.”
  • Also, make sure you avoid touching public surfaces, and whenever possible, do not touch your nose, eyes, and mouth in any way.

Social Distancing Matters

What exactly is social distancing? It depends. Social distancing is all about staying away from crowded places, avoiding physical contact so that you can limit the spread of the virus. And in a vastly connected world like ours, this is possible only when we define our existence to our home. The idea behind this is to curtail transmission further and stop the spread of the pandemic before it goes out of control. You can read more about it here

It is also recommended that keeping six feet of distance between you and others at all times is also a good practice. Since a lot of social distancing rules depend on the area that you live in, we recommend that you research the guidelines for your area and follow accordingly.

Coronavirus Can Affect Those Around You

It’s important to remember that while catching COVID-19 might not be detrimental to you personally, it has the potential of spreading it to a higher risk individual. This means that some individuals are considered at higher risk than others – these include older adults and those with chronic medical conditions or a compromised immune system.  Find out more about COVID-19 insurance plans here.

It is imperative to consider higher-risk individuals that you might meet frequently and plan accordingly. If you still are going to work or often leaving your home, think that you might come in contact with them indirectly through objects you touch and transportation you’re taking. Remember: since COVID-19’s incubation period can be up to 14 days, you could still be spreading the virus, even if you are not showing symptoms.

Have A Plan In Case Of An Outbreak

While panic is not a good idea in case of any pandemic, it is vital to be prepared in case you do contract the virus – especially if you live with others. Here are some pointers to keep in mind.

  1. Talk with the people who need to be included in your plan. Meet with household members, other relatives, and friends to discuss how you can effectively tackle an outbreak if it happens in your community. Assign responsibility to each person
  2. Plan ways to care for those who might be at higher risk of severe complications. If you or your household members are at increased risk for COVID-19 complications, consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms in the light of the epidemic 
  3. Create a list of local organizations that you and your household can contact in the event you need access to information, health care services, support, and resources. 
  4. Remind everyone in your home of the importance of practicing everyday preventive actions that can help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, stay at home when you’re sick (except to get medical care), and cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and of course, wash your hands
  5. Choose a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy. Identify a separate bathroom for the sick person to use, if possible
  6. Remember that if anyone gets sick, you must stay at home—except to get medical care—to avoid spreading it to others
  7. Keep Yourself Occupied

If your work has already been called off and you’re getting used to the idea of being at home for some time, make sure you have things to keep you busy. Make a list of things that have been pending for a long time, like cleaning, signing up for an online course, or finding a good at-home workout. While being stuck at home for an unknown amount of time is scary, you can still use it to learn new skills and courses. 

Be Kind

There’s a post going around the Internet that’s along the lines of “viruses spread, but so does panic, kindness, and joy—choose wisely.” Remember that you aren’t alone in your anxiety, and to be patient and kind to others feeling the same way. Make sure you check in on your friends, family, and neighbors virtually and help each other cope through any problematic situation that might be facing at any time. Also, make sure you feed the stray cats and dogs in your area because this pandemic has affected them in multiple ways as well. 

by Mary Martina
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