Social Distancing Isn’t a Joke: How to stay safe during the coronavirus

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In this time of uncertainty, it is important to remember life-saving tips and to follow health guidelines.

Maggie Estes, News Writer

Between social distancing, canceled school and sold out toilet paper, the coronavirus pandemic is a wild time to live through. Although the situation is filled with uncertainty, the best thing you can do is take precautions to protect yourself and others. Here are some guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to help you accomplish just that.
The most important thing is to stay home if you can. The virus is thought to be spread through person-to-person contact, so distancing yourself helps prevent it from being spread even more. If you do need to leave your house, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if you cannot wash your hands, and try to stand at least six feet away from other people. Additionally, do not touch your eyes, mouth or nose with unwashed hands.
To help protect others, stay home if you are sick, regardless of how mild the symptoms are. In the event that you are sick and need to leave the house, wear a face mask if you are going to be around other people. Do not wear face masks if you are not sick or caring for those that are. There is currently a shortage of face masks, so leave them for the people that really need them. Even if you aren’t sick or are a carrier with no symptoms, cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue. After coughing or sneezing, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer as soon as you can. Make sure to clean frequently used surfaces like handles, doorknobs, phones and lightswitches daily with Lysol, which kills coronavirus, in addition to any common household disinfectant. There is no perfect number for how many people should be at a necessary gathering, but they should be kept as small as possible.
News outlets and social media have been flooded with information and stories about coronavirus, causing wide-spread panic. Constantly reading stories about the virus can be overwhelming, so try to distance yourself from all the stories and check-in only periodically. Even though school is out and it’s easy to lie in bed binge-watching Netflix all day, make a conscious effort to take a break from schoolwork and television. It is safe to be in open outdoor spaces, so feel free to take a walk around your neighborhood or a stroll with your dog. Take time to do something you enjoy, and try to stay connected with other people; just because you should distance yourself doesn’t mean you need to isolate yourself.
If you think you might have coronavirus, stay at home and keep in contact with your doctor. Call your medical provider before you show up and tell them you think you have COVID-19. This will help them better protect healthcare workers and other patients. Monitor your symptoms so that when you call your doctor, they can better diagnose you. Stay away from others in your home, and do not share household items such as phones or drinking glasses. If you develop the emergency signs of coronavirus like chest pain, trouble breathing, extreme lethargy or bluish-colored lips, seek emergency medical care.
Guidelines and information about coronavirus are constantly being updated. Visit the CDC’s website for the most accurate, up to date information.