Time for a Reminder: COVID-19 Safety Do’s and Don’ts
Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is still as important as ever. Zoe Stallings, MD, talks about the do's and don'ts of protecting yourself and others from coronavirus in this 2 Your Well-Being discussion with WFMY News 2.
When should you wear a mask?
“When you leave your home, have the mask with you. When you're in your car, it's not necessary. However, when you go into buildings, you need to put your mask on. You need to cover your nose and your mouth… As long as you've left your household, you're no longer in your personal space - going out into the grocery store, the pharmacy, schools - please bring your mask. Put them on before you enter businesses and workplace environments.”
How do we correctly take a mask off?
“For a mask that's attached by the ears, you want to just take it off the same way you put it on. Just go ahead and pull it down one strap at a time. However, if you have a mask on that is more of a scarf, pull that down, don't touch the mask too much - just kind of pull it down below your chin. It's important that you remember that washing your hands every time you handle the mask is of utmost importance.”
“… When you touch the front of your mask, what you're beginning to do is touch all of the contaminants that the mask was helping to protect, and then you're more likely to rub your eyes, you're more likely to put your hands on your mouth. So try your best not to touch the front because that's the contaminated surface of the mask.”
When we take our mask off, where do we put it?
“We do not want you to put your mask away by just shoving it into your pocket. It'll be best if you carry a bag and put your mask inside of that bag. Imagine if you put your bag in your pocket and it's mixed up with your money – you have now contaminated both sides of that mask.”
How long should people wash their hands?
“So you want to wash your hands for 20 seconds, and we're talking washing your fingers all the way to the wrist. ‘Happy Birthday to You,’ the entire song is the amount of time that it will take. This is the way that we want you to rid debris, you want to wash off bacteria, you want to wash off viruses. You want to keep your hands clean. You need enough time and it should be in contact with soap and water the entire time."
"If you don't have soap and water, wash your hands with hand sanitizer. You want to rub the hand sanitizer, pea-sized amount, in the middle of the hand or foam until it's dry."
When it comes to social distancing, how far apart do people need to be?
“When possible, six feet, and even six feet in some instances might be a minimum. They've shown studies of what is it like in terms of particulate spray when we sneeze, how far are the droplets pushed. And so to limit your exposure to someone should they accidentally sneeze, then you need to leave enough space.”
“The other part of it is that if we're talking about surfaces and touching, when we bunch up and use things and touch things, the area hasn't had time for the droplets to even air dry. So give yourself enough space and if possible, enough time. If someone is at the ATM machine and they're using it, back up and give them space so they can use it, but also enough time that if they've sneezed into that area, it can clear out."
“I think it's even more critical [to practice social distancing] when you're indoors. However, I've seen where people are bunched up outside on balconies and decks, and so the same thing applies inside and outside, but in particular when you're inside, try your best to maintain that space.”
What else should we keep in mind to stay healthy this year?
“I'm already beginning to talk to my patients about flu vaccinations. We're going into flu season and it is extremely important that we try to limit getting sick during this time with the flu. We are already demanding the hospital space for patients who have coronavirus. So let's try to prevent another kind of viral illness that we've been dealing with every year, and that's the flu.”
“Also, we're going to into allergy season. We're seeing people with the itchy eyes, ears, nose and throat. If you're someone that has this every single year, be proactive, go ahead and start your antihistamine, your nasal spray… Wear a mask to avoid pollen and hay that you're exposed to.”