Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has impacted communities around the world. It has created an urgent need for ways to slow the spread of disease. There is no vaccine for COVID-19 at this time. But, there are ways to reduce exposure to this new strain – like social distancing.
What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing also called physical distancing, is a new concept for most people. And, it looks different for everyone. In general, social distancing means canceling large gatherings and avoiding public places. On a personal level, it means protecting your family, friends and neighbors.
If social isolation is new to your family, it can be hard and confusing to practice. Yet, it is the best way to reduce the spread of disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here are tips to help your family practice safe social distancing during this pandemic.
Establish New Routines
Daily life at home looks much different than normal during social isolation. Establishing new routines can help your family adjust to the change. The new situation will feel less overwhelming for everyone, especially your kids.
To keep your family safe at home, practice healthy habits. This includes washing your hands or using a hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth. Get enough sleep, eat healthy meals and drink plenty of water.
Simple but healthy habits can help your family feel their best at home. The CDC recommends staying at home as much as possible for the time being. If you must venture out for groceries or supplies, consider the following tips.
Avoid Close Contact
Whenever you leave the house, put some distance between you and other people. The CDC recommends staying six feet apart. Avoid close contact with people who are ill. And remember, people can spread the virus even without symptoms.
On the flip side, YOU could spread the disease even if you are not sick. For this reason, it is smart to cover your mouth and nose with a cloth when you are in public. Body Helix makes a reusable face mask that is good for this situation. In a pinch,you could use a scarf or bandanna.
Spend Time Outdoors
During this pandemic, it is wise to avoid community playgrounds and swimming pools. That said, playing outside is a good way to exercise and avoid cabin fever. While you distance your family from others, remember the six-feet rule. This leaves more than enough room for bike rides, nature hikes and other outdoor activities.
Speaking of cabin fever, it is important to keep your family active at home – whether they are outside or indoors. “No school” sounded fun at first, but your children are likely bored and restless already. Keep them active with schoolwork, exercise, board games and craft projects.
Protect Those at Risk
COVID-19 does not affect children or young adults as much as other groups. Older adults – and those with underlying conditions – have a higher risk of illness from the virus. This includes elderly people and those with asthma or HIV. Pregnant women are also at risk, as are people with heart or lung disease.
If someone in your home fits the at-risk criteria, do your best to protect them. Limit your family’s time in public as much as possible. If you have relatives in a nursing home, skip visits for a while since they are vulnerable to infection.
Clean and Disinfect
This last tip is a practical one that involves housekeeping. To keep your family safe in isolation, clean and disinfect your home. Cleaning gets rid of the dirt where germs can grow, and disinfecting kills the germs or inactivates them.
The CDC recommends that you clean AND disinfect the surfaces you touch daily. This includes tables, counters, doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, phones, toilets, faucets and sinks.
COVID-19 has affected family life in unprecedented ways. Adjusting to a new situation is challenging, especially when it involves uncertainty. These tips can help your family navigate social isolation at home – all while keeping them happy, healthy and safe.
Tarah Mills has always had a passion for writing. Her philosophy is that not only can writing be educational, but it can change the world. While she is dedicated to her work, she still enjoys a good game of basketball, curling up to a good book, and all things Star Wars. She currently resides in the Richmond, Virginia area with her family.