The fight against COVID-19 is a long-drawn battle. As countries across the globe ease lockdown measures and reinvigorate the economy, people are restarting their lives as well. Some of us might have visited our friends and family after months, while others caught up with colleagues at the workplace. Others might have enjoyed shopping at the mall or a sunset stroll by the beach.
As we inch back towards normalcy, it is crucial to understand that now is not the time to lower our guard. Given that living with the virus until vaccines are available is a new reality, we must redouble our precautionary efforts. For the wellbeing of ourselves, our families and communities, here are a few practices we can follow to stay safe:
Wear protective gear
As the adage goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure’. That is why healthcare professionals are advocating the use of personal protective equipment. While stepping out of your home, whether to go to work or to run personal errands, remember to wear face masks, gloves and eyewear. A face mask not only protects you from being infected but also helps you to avoid touching the face after coming in contact with other surfaces.
• If you are using reusable masks made of cloth, wash and disinfect it after every use.
• While using a medical-grade face mask, ensure that you replace it with a fresh one once it gets moist. Also, dispose it with caution, following the guidelines issued by authorities.
• It is also advisable to top up your first line of defence with a face shield.
Practise social distancing
While circuit breaker or lockdown measures are no longer in place, physical distancing is a must. Even without visible symptoms, people around you might still be carriers of the virus. Therefore, as much as possible, avoid close contact with people and maintain a gap of at least two meters (six feet) whenever you are in a public space.
• While socialising at work or elsewhere, avoid handshakes and opt for no-touch ‘namaste’ greetings instead.
• Understandably, you might want to throw a party after long or attend one. However, being a part of crowded spaces is an open invitation to infection. That is why it is better to avoid groups of five or more people.
• At work, maintain physical distancing in your cabin, conference rooms or while walking around the factory shop floor.
Prioritise cleanliness and hygiene
Keeping everything around you clean and disinfected is critical . Continue to maintain hand hygiene, by frequently washing your hands with soap and water. If you are in a public space, use an alcohol-based sanitiser to disinfect your hands at regular intervals, particularly after sneezing, coughing, or touching public surfaces.
• Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, like tabletops, switches, doorknobs, handles, phones, keyboards, etc.
• Practise a hygiene routine every time you come back home. For instance, avoid immediate contact with family members and settle down only after thoroughly washing your hands and changing into clean clothes.
• In case you experience any symptoms, stay back at home and seek medical help. Ignoring the symptoms can lead to the virus affecting your office colleagues, friends, and family.
Boost your immunity
Take care of yourself and boost your immunity , so that your body can fight the virus. Maintain a routine and incorporate exercise and relaxation techniques to your daily schedule. This will help you destress, get good sleep, and strengthen your mind and body.
• Eat healthy, nutritious, homemade food and avoid junk food and sugary drinks.
• Keep exercising. Make time for a brisk walk in the park or a run in the park. Make use of online resources to experiment with other forms of exercise, like aerobics, strength training or core strengthening activities.
• Incorporate micro habits, like taking the stairs instead of the lift or walking a couple of blocks instead of hitching a ride.
Embracing the new normal
The economy is opening up, and governments and local authorities are facilitating a safe transition to the new normal. As we step out of our homes and resume a normal routine, we must bear in mind that the fight against COVID-19 is far from over. Instead of lowering our guard, we must continue to practise precautionary measures.
As Benjamin Franklin puts it, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”