Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the newest strain of coronavirus that is spreading across the globe. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that is spread from person to person, and symptoms present themselves much like a cold or flu. So, the question is: how can you protect yourself?
The best way to protect yourself is to stay away from sick people. The CDC has said that the COVID-19 spreads easily when people are within 6 feet of each other. So, if you see someone exhibiting cold or flu like symptoms, keep your distance. The CDC has several other recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19, which are:Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay at home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw that tissue in the trash. If a tissue is unavailable, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand.
- Clean and disinfect regularly touched surfaces.
- Face masks:
- If you are not sick, there is no need to wear a face mask, as this will not prevent you from contracting the virus.
- If you are sick, wear a face mask to prevent the spread of the virus to others.
- Frequent washing of hands and forearms with soap and water, for a duration of 20 second.
A common place for adults to contract a virus is in their workplace. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, there are several things that employers can do to protect their employees:
Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick. Some dedicated staff members will drag themselves into work if they are under the weather, and it is incredibly important that they be reminded to stay at home.
- Encourage remote work. If there are tasks that can be done outside of the office, allow employees to complete that work at home, thereby keeping them away from the potentially-infected public.
- If employees travel internationally, suspend trips to the following countries: China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy.
- Maintain workplace hygiene – keep desks and surfaces clean, offer hand sanitizer to employees, and reorganize the work space so employees are working at least 6 feet form the next employee.
- Provide all employees with any updates on the virus and what is going on. This will prevent unnecessary spread of rumours and fear.
Finally, a global outbreak of a new virus is stressful for everyone. It is important to maintain your mental health during this time. There are tips provided by the World Health Organization that will help maintain your mental health, which are:
- Maintain contact with family and friends. Regular conversations, whether in face, over the phone, or by text is beneficial for a positive mind set.
- Follow a healthy diet. Regular exercise and eating healthy has been proven to have an incredibly positive effect on mental health. There also the benefit of giving yourself an immune boost.
- Avoid cigarettes and alcohol to cope with your stress.
- Stay informed. There is a lot of misinformation circulating, which is promoting fear. Educating yourself, using a reliable source such as the WHO or CDC can help alleviate stress.