With the developments regarding the COVID-19 outbreak changing by the hour, and its impact on public health and quality of life already reaching alarming heights, proper infection control has never been more important. Taking the necessary precautions not only protects you from infection, it also gives you peace of mind and control in a situation where it’s very easy to feel helpless.
If you or your loved are in recovery, you already know the importance of infection control a little better than most. Alcohol and drug addiction can compromise the immune system, and people who are immuno-compromised are generally more vulnerable to contracting viruses like COVID 19 and other illnesses with potentially life-threatening implications. With that in mind, here are some vital infection control tips to you safe and protected.
We Can’t Say It Enough…
Wash your hands multiple times a day for twenty seconds at a time with antibacterial soap and hot water. This is one of the most important things you can do against this or any other type of virus, per guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You can time yourself by singing 20 seconds of your favorite song.
Love Your Friends from Afar
The phrase “social distancing” is sure to find itself in Webster’s at the end of the year, and with good reason. As important as community is to people both in and out of recovery, we find ourselves in a time where it’s necessary to keep a safe a distance from one another, whether we’re infected or not. Not exactly sure how to socially distance? Check out these federal guidelines to learn the dos and don’ts. If you’re sick, stay home; avoid social gatherings of 10 or more; practice proper hygiene (remember the handwashing thing?); and avoid travel if at all possible. If someone in your office or family has been tested for the virus, assume they have it until results come back negative and self-isolate.
Can’t Touch This
If you’re forced to go out, whether it’s for work, food, medication or anything else, avoid touching community-use objects and surfaces, like counters, doorknobs, shopping carts and debit card machines with your bare hands. If you need to touch any of these items or surfaces, use your sleeve or put on gloves before you go out. These measures may seem extreme, but with COVID 19 deaths increasing exponentially by the day, and every credible expert saying: “the worst is yet to come”, they seem more and more normal by the minute.
Can’t Taste This
Sharing food and drink is a big no-no, regardless of whether or not the person who “just wants a bite or a sip” has been diagnosed. The germs and bacteria that are transmitted from sharing bottles, cans, glasses and silverware can facilitate the spread of flu and similar diseases. If you need to cough or sneeze do it on the crook of your arm, not in your hand or the open air.
Hands Off the Face
It’s going to be tough at first (you won’t believe how much you touch your face), research indicates that humans touch their face around three times an hour—stop. Every time you touch your face, you’re transmitting bacteria between your hands and your eyes, nose and mouth. This “self-inoculation,” or transfer of germs from one body part to another, is a primary way that germs wind up spreading from contaminated surfaces to people’s faces, and from sick people to often-touched surfaces. With limited testing and no known vaccine, the stakes for chronic face-touchers have never been so high.
Let’s Keep It Clean
Right now hundreds of thousands of Americans are working from home, keeping one eye on their jobs and another on their kids whose schools have closed. As much as we love our children and families, none of us should ignore the reality that germs spread in communal living spaces, especially from younger children who, shall we say, don’t always observe boundaries. Our homes are taking a beating, and it’s important that we do our best to keep them cleaner than normal. Use disinfectant wipes or safe cleaners with bleach to clean surfaces, and wash clothes and linens often.
Take It Seriously
It turns out that one of the most pervasive infection-control issues during the COVID 19 pandemic is ignorance. This is an urgent and deadly public health issue that has already killed thousands; shut down major cultural and financial institutions; and is causing global economic panic. It’s not something to be scoffed at on social media or at the beach during spring break. Ignoring the advice of clinical experts and assuming you know more than they do puts you and everyone you interact with at risk. Remember that we all have to live in this world together.
Recovery Unplugged wishes everyone safety, comfort and as much peace of mind as possible during this admittedly uncertain time. If we exercise the appropriate measure of caution, compassion, social responsibility and mindfulness, we will get through it.