5 Ways to Protect Your Health During COVID-19 Reopening
At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are wondering how to resume some of their normal activities when states like North Carolina are in the midst of a phased reopening. If you are feeling uncertain about what is safe, you are not alone! The health experts at LeBauer HealthCare have put together these five guidelines to help lower your risk of contracting or spreading coronavirus.
1. Know the Risk Level for Common Activities
Can I have friends over for a cookout? Is it a good idea to get a haircut at this point? What about trying to get outside for a weekend camping trip? As you and your family are trying to plan activities, it’s a good idea to review the overall risk factor for each thing on your list.
Hosting a Small Cookout or Get Together
This can be a low-risk activity if everyone follows the rules. It’s safest not to eat with people you don’t live with or to invite a large group over. If you really want to socialize, consider having a few people over outside and forgo the food. Wear masks, place seats far apart, and make sure you are just as strict about social distancing at the end of the party as you were at the beginning. If you do decide to eat, make sure everyone has clean hands before handling any serving spoons or other commonly touched surfaces and sit at least 6 feet apart from those who do not live with you.
Camping is a great option for a low-risk summer adventure, but like other activities, the risk level depends on your exposure to others. Make sure you can keep a significant distance between your camp and the camps of people you don’t know or don’t live with. Additionally, when interacting with others outside of your group, keep a safe distance of 6 feet.
Going to the Salon
The process of getting a haircut or your nails done involves spending a long period of time close to another person. Stylists and other salon staff will be in close proximity to a lot of different people throughout their day. Even if you’re wearing a mask, the amount of time spent close to another person makes this a high-risk activity.
For a more complete list of risks associated with activities, check out this article from Cone Health about 11 common summer activities with risk levels ranging from very low to very high.
2. Keep Practicing the Hygiene and Precautionary Basics
By now, almost everyone has repeatedly been encouraged to practice some of the most practical basic hygiene measures, including:
|Frequently wash your hands|
|Avoid touching your face|
|Maintain social-distancing of at least six feet|
|Wear a clean, well-fitting mask over your nose and mouth in public. This is currently required in North Carolina, with exceptions for children and those with medical conditions that would prevent wearing a mask.|
Many of us are experiencing “lockdown fatigue” and these precautions can feel like one more thing to remember. However, the truth is that each of these is still critical to both protecting your own health and limiting the health risks of others. As NC and other states attempt to gradually reopen, our collective commitment to safety measures like these will make the biggest difference in slowing the spread of coronavirus.
3. Limit Exposure to People Outside of Your Household
Even though NC’s phased reopening means that you and your family have opportunities to spend time with a small group of friends, go to a pool, or eat out, it’s best to limit the amount of time you spend with those outside your household.
When you do get together with others, continue to wear your masks and plan to keep your gatherings small and outdoors.
A person can carry COVID-19 without symptoms. Breathing and speaking can release virus particles that live in the air for up to three hours. This is why it’s important for everyone to wear a mask.
Remember that this is still a critical time for avoiding visits with seniors and others who could be particularly vulnerable.
4. Shop Retailers Who Clearly Put Safety Policies in Action
As businesses and restaurants continue to open their doors, there are clear policies in place to limit everyone’s health risks. For example, under NC’s Phase 2 reopening orders, retail business is required to:
- Post the Emergency Maximum Occupancy in a noticeable place
- Put up signs about social distancing
- Provide lines 6 feet apart in point-of-sale and other high-traffic areas
- Frequently clean and disinfect high-touch areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant
If you and your family don’t see these policies in action at a particular retailer, it’s best to avoid shopping there for now. Also, just because an occupancy sign has been posted, doesn’t mean it’s being followed or enforced. If a business isn’t actively tracking the number of customers inside, look for an alternative retail location.
5. Monitor Your Stress
One of the biggest keys to protecting your health, even under normal circumstances, is managing stress effectively. Prolonged periods of high stress or anxiety can take extraordinary tolls on our bodies and immune system. We have gathered some tips for managing your stress and anxiety in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read this article that outlines indoor and outdoor exercise tips.
We’re Here for Your Family
As the situation in our country and local community continues to develop, know that you can depend on the experts at LeBauer HealthCare offices throughout the Triad region for both immediate illnesses and ongoing health care needs.
Our team has been given specific training regarding COVID-19 symptoms and offers virtual visits with clear directions for testing or next steps for those who have symptoms or who have been exposed to others with a positive COVID-19 test.