Things you should do
- Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds. You do not need to use antibacterial soap because it is ineffective at killing pathogens on your hands. Plain soap is a surfactant that reduces the surface tension and allows those nasty microbes to slide off your hand, under running water.
- If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer. It should be at least 60 percent alcohol and should contain hand conditioners, such as aloe vera. Do not apply to dirty hands, it will only create a slurry. Follow the directions on the bottle for the correct amount to rub all over the surfaces of your hands until your hands are dry. Do not wipe them off.
- When washing your hands in a public restroom, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the door.
- If you cough or sneeze, do so into your flexed elbow, not into your hands.
- Avoid close contact (less than 6 feet) with anyone who exhibits cold or flu-like symptoms.
- When touching surfaces like keypads on gas pumps or ATM machines, do not use fingertips, use your knuckles, or an ink pen to push the buttons, or use a tissue or paper towel.
- Disinfect high-touch surfaces such as phones, tablets, and keyboards. Most household cleaning products can damage phones and tablets, so wipe them with 70 percent alcohol, which is the only safe disinfectant. You should also wash your hands before using your phone or tablet.
- Only wear a mask if you are caring for someone who is infected. However, a surgical mask only offers a modicum of protection and is meant to keep someone who is sick from expelling droplets into the air. An N95 respirator mask offers more protection but one has to know how to properly use it and it is somewhat more difficult to breathe while using it.
- Avoid crowds and large public venues.
- If at all possible, avoid flying.
Things you should NOT do
- Take a cruise at this time, especially if you are elderly or have underlying health problems.
- Travel overseas, if at all possible.
- Panic! Yes, you should take this pandemic seriously and take the proper precautions, but do not let overwhelming fear lead to bad decisions.
Misinformation abounds on social media about the novel Coronavirus:
- It is the result of bioweapons research.
- Vitamin C will cure COVID-19.
- You can test to see if you have COVID-19 by holding your breath without coughing.
- Drinking water to keep your throat moist will prevent you from being infected with COVID-19 Warm weather will kill the virus.
- Cold weather and snow will kill the virus.
- Taking a hot bath will prevent you from contracting COVID-19.
- The novel Coronavirus can be contracted through a mosquito bite.
- Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will protect you from the novel Coronavirus.
- Rinsing your nose with saline will prevent infection from the novel Coronavirus.
- Eating garlic will protect you from the novel Coronavirus.
- An onion cut in half will suck viruses out of the air and protect you from the novel Coronavirus.
- The new Coronavirus is just a mutated form of the common cold.
- Kids can’t catch COVID-19.
- If you have the Coronavirus you will know.
- The novel Coronavirus is less deadly than the Flu.
- You can contract COVID-19 if you eat at Chinese restaurants in the U.S.
- It’s not safe to receive a package from China.
Please do not rely on information shared on social media that is not form a health organization or a government agency, and above all, do not share it. For factual information about the pandemic go to www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.