Tips on Staying Healthy in the Age of Covid-19

Currently there is no vaccine to prevent the novel coronavirus. However, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) presents clear guidelines on steps that people can take to decrease their chance of contracting the virus. 

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure. 

“If you’re sick, stay home,” Nurse Kelly Debeljak said. “If you are in an area where there are people sick, then leave.” 

The virus is spread through close contact, when people are within six feet of one another or through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can make their way into the mouth or nose of people around them, which can then be inhaled into the lungs. 

The following steps can reduce the odds of getting sick:

Wash your hands often. Do so thoroughly using soap and water. 

“Just made sure you wash your hands for a good 20 seconds, which is how long it takes to sing the happy birthday song twice, or the alphabet once,” Debeljak said. 

If soap and water are not available, make sure to use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. 

Just made sure you wash your hands for a good 20 seconds, which is how long it takes to sing the happy birthday song twice, or the alphabet once.

— Nurse Kelly Debeljak

“People don’t realize that you should wash your hands before you eat, and then again after you eat,” Debelijak said. 

Medical professionals also advise people to avoid touching their faces with unwashed hands.

“That is the mode of transport [for the virus],” Debejak said. “You are going to touch a surface that has it, then touch your eyes, nose or mouth… That is how it gets into your system.”

Also avoid close contact with people who are sick.

There are steps people can take to protect others as well. 

Sick people should stay home except when seeking medical care. 

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. 

“If you have to cough or sneeze, cough into a tissue or your arm,” Debeljak said. “If you have to use your hands, wash them right away.”

Throw used tissues into the trash. Do not leave them around. 

The CDC is also encouraging people who are sick to wear a face mask when around other people. People who are caring for you when you are sick should also have face masks. 

Face masks also may be in short supply, so individuals who are not sick should not wear a mask. 

Lastly, make sure to clean and disinfect any surfaces that are touched frequently. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks. 

“I’m cautious, but I’m not overly worried [for Beachwood students]. It is very similar to the flu, in perspective, every year we have the flu and people die from that as well.”

Public health experts warn that if people do not take precautions and Covid-19 spreads too rapidly, it could overwhelm our health care system. 

“These measures are the bare minimum we should be doing to try to shift the peak — to slow the rise in cases so health care systems are less overwhelmed,” Liz Specht wrote in Stat News.