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We are all facing frightening and uncertain times right now. The good news is that every day we are getting more information on how to stay safe. This is particularly important for people with compromised immune systems, people who have underlying breathing issues and people over 60.

What the American Red Cross advises

The American Red Cross advises that we all practice elevated levels of personal and space hygiene. This includes:

  1. Stay home. With the advancement of technology, there’s not much that can’t be done online. Universities and schools are holding classes online, you can do your banking and financial planning online or over the phone,  you can even go online and order cleaning products and groceries to be delivered to your home.
  2. In public stay at least 6 feet from others. Recent research shows that COVID-19, much like colds and the flu, is airborne. This means it is spread by droplets that leave an infected person (who may not have symptoms) and enters your body through your nose, mouth, or hands when you touch your face.
  3. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds numerous times each day.
  4. If you cough, sneeze or blow your nose use a tissue. Then discard it and wash your hands. If you sneeze into your elbow be sure to wash that article of clothing the same day.
  5. Disinfect doorknobs, light switches, TV remotes, keyboards and drawer pulls. Throw out your toothbrush every three months. Machine wash or rinse shower curtains with hot water and vinegar.

Know how to wear a mask and use it when needed

There has been a lot of back and forth on the effectiveness of wearing a mask. Current research indicates than when you wear an N95 mask (or correctly worn cloth mask) it does help protect both you and the people you come in contact with.

The CDC has created a simple how-to guide. Always sanitize or wash your hands first.

  • Cup the mask and place over your nose and chin.
  • Adjust the straps over your head: One strap on at the base of your neck under your hair, and one strap at the top of your head.
  • Adjust the metal nose piece.
  • Check that there is a seal by exhaling. If you feel air coming out, readjust.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Do not touch the mask while you wear it. This can spread contamination.
  • When you are done using the mask, DO NOT TOUCH THE FRONT of the mask. Instead, remove by grasping the elastic bands and pulling them over your head. DO NOT REUSE masks as this too can spread the virus.

We live in unprecedented times. The two best ways to stay safe are to seek out information and to prepare. As Benjamin Franklin noted, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”