Governors are loosening restrictions across the country, restaurants are allowing people to sit, kids are splashing in pools, and a good amount of us are crawling out of darkened rooms catering to stress eating and streaming platforms, like ungroomed, overfed, fluffy vampires. Welcome back to the light, but let’s stay safe out here. We’ve slowed down the spread, flattened the curve, and saved lives, but there’s a chance opening things up will speed things up, bulge that curve, and lead to lost lives again. Here’s how to avoid all that.
Whether you’re in a state that’s dropping all the restrictions or in one that’s extending stay at home orders, it’s important to follow the guidelines that apply to you. Don’t let jealousy of another state entice you out too early. Despite how it feels sometimes, no one is trying to steal your rights out from under you while you quarantine. Most politicians are legitimately trying to keep us safe. Some just don’t express it well. If you don’t like the way anyone handled things, register to vote and change things.
Wash Your Hands
You’ve heard it a million times, but that’s because it is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick. We transmit germs to our mouth, nose, and eyes all the time. If you touch anything outside your home, wash your hands as soon as you step in. If you eat out, wash your hands before you touch your food and bring it to your mouth. If you open one of the many packages you’ve ordered in, wash your hands. If you stayed in bed all day, binging nachos and watching cartoons, maybe take a shower.
Avoid Touching Your Face
Yes, it’s another thing you’ve heard so many times it has almost become meaningless. Don’t slack though when it comes to this white noise phrase. If you’re out and about, touching your face is a no-no, especially after touching anything outside your house. Be conscious of where your hands are, what they touch, and where you let them roam. It’s important. Don’t freak out if you rubbed the grit out of your eyes first thing in the morning, picked your nose after a shower, or licked the cheesy chip dust off a finger when you’ve stayed home all day. The germs already in your house aren’t the problem. It’s the ones outside that justify your attention.
This lovely gem of 2020 isn’t going to fully go away until we have a vaccine. Keep those six feet between you and avoid direct contact with strangers and even non-strangers outside your home. Yes, it’s time to begin meeting up with friends and family, but do so with caution and preparation. You are trusting each of them with your life.
Wear a Mask
Some states require a mask in public. Some don’t. You should wear one. It doesn’t have to be a P95 mask. Anything offers more protection than nothing. Take it off properly by the ear loops and wash your hands before touching your face or eating. Wash any reusable mask between uses. Replace the filter often if it has one. Avoid touching the front of your mask and front of the filter, and wash your hands again immediately. Why wear a mask? They catch droplets that can contain Covid-19, the flu, cold viruses, and more. Even if they don’t catch it all, you’re immune system responds better to light exposure than a heavy exposure. Wear one.
Stick to the Sun
Viruses don’t love sunlight. We’re designed to handle that ultraviolet radiation with skin cells, melanin, and hair, plus a bonus boost from sunblock, but viruses are destroyed by the sun in minutes. If you must touch surfaces outside your home, let those surfaces be in direct sunlight. Bask in it. Expose your hands to it. Take a hike in it. Enjoy it. Just don’t burn yourself. The vitamin D is beneficial for the immune system, but a burn brings your immune function down.
Sick and Stay
If you feel sick, stay home. Doesn’t matter if it’s the new coronavirus, one of the old one, influenza, or bad tacos, do your part not to spread whatever you’re carrying to others. Wear a mask if you must go out to catch your coughs, sneezes, and contaminated breathing. It’s simple common courtesy at this point. Do it.
Some of us lost our jobs during this mess. Some were forced to shutter businesses. Others worked from home. Now is a good time to put feelers out. As companies reopen, employees will be in high demand again. Businesses need to ramp things back up quickly, and that takes you. You’ll find more bosses are open to remote work too.
Enjoy Your Freedom
Take advantage of the reopening world. Laugh, smile, dance through mountain fields, travel, hike, eat at restaurants, work, date, make friends, air out your home, and remember what it’s like to be a part of your community, but do so with the wisdom we’ve learned this year. Avoid crowds. Wash hands. Be overly clean. Don’t touch your face. Plan for hard times. Exercise. Get enough sleep. And eat or drink immune boosting foods. We are fragile beings that can be taken apart by a tiny packet of protein, lipids, and RNA, so stay smart out there. Enjoy life and stay safe.
Plan for Fall
Unfortunately, pandemics tend to come in waves. The sunlight and warm weather will force the virus into the background for a few months, but it won’t go away. History shows pandemics resurge in the autumn months when schools open, holiday spur get-togethers, and cold-shocked immune systems falter. Fall may bring restrictions again. Expect this. Plan ahead. Stock up on food, water, toilet paper, cold medicine, your matcha supply, and other necessities. Do not hoard. There are resources for all of us. You just need enough to get through a few months. Don’t fret about the coming of October, just prepare. It isn’t certain this will happen, but it is a good idea to know it is a possibility.