EARTH FUTURE ACTION
HEALTH AND AVOIDING DISEASE
STAYING ALIVE IN THE AGE OF THE CORONAVIRUS
Amidst today's global Coronavirus pandemic, it is important for people to be aware of basic tips for staying healthy and avoiding disease, or other health complications. Some of this may seem like common sense, but we don't see enough resources out there that are all inclusive. So we will provide a health guide below.
Also check out our Coronavirus PSA.
DISCLAIMER: We don't claim to be medical experts, but here are some facts and news stories that could be helpful on this topic.
Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. This can bring germs into your body. Wash your hands first if you wish to touch your face.
Wear a mask
Wearing a mask is important when it comes to protecting one's self, and others from the virus. Everyone should be wearing a mask when in public crowded areas to prevent the spread of the virus. Though if you are outside, this is not as much of a concern, as long as there is space between you and other people.
When putting on the mask, make sure it is facing the correct direction and do not put your fingers on the inside of the mask. Also, try not to re-use disposable surgical masks. They are not meant for re-use.
The following study shows that the filtering provided by surgical masks is better than nothing.
Can I Wear A Mask More Than Once? (Web MD)
Wash your hands:
The top health tip is to wash your hands. Be sure to use antibacterial soap. You would think washing hands would obvious, but a surprising amount of people around the world don't wash their hands properly. (Medical Xpress). Washing the hands with water and soap leads to a 30% reduction in respiratory infections. (Tropical Medicine and International Health).
When you first come home, do not touch commonly used household objects like the computer, remote or phone until you wash your hands.
According to the CDC, people should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, after blowing the nose, and after coughing or sneezing.
Outside the Home:
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. (Check out Purell products on Amazon)
You can also use wet wipes. Check out Wet Ones.
In the winter time, you might want to get some kind of hand cream, since frequent disinfecting can lead to dry skin.
Avoid Contact With Germs And Sick People
The CDC has some guidelines for avoiding disease. While the linked page refers to the Coronavirus, it has good tips for disease prevention in general.
In addition to washing the hands, here are some other guidelines.
- Avoid contact with sick people. Stay away from anything they are breathing. Do not shake hands with them.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw away the tissue.
- Masks are not a magical solution for disease prevention. And if everyone buys up the supplies of facial masks, there won't be enough for hospitals, which could cause a real crisis. It is best to follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask, which are: "the CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility)." (CDC)
Don't Share Personal Objects With Other People:
Personal objects like toothbrushes and towels should not be shared.
Clean and Disinfect Household Objects:
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipes. Clorox wipes are useful.
Keep in mind that germs can survive on a surface anywhere from a few minutes to several days. But most are no longer dangerous after 24 hours. (PBS)
Also clean your phone.
If you buy takeout, you can kill germs by putting your food in the oven. In a traditional oven, we recommend around 2-4 minutes at about 200 degrees. We can't guarantee this will kill all the germs, but it's a start. Now a microwave itself won't kill germs, but the heat should.
For takeout salads, or any cold food, if you're worried about germs, you can try waiting for about 24 hours. Once again, we don't guarantee all the germs will die in that time, but it should help.
With raw vegetables and raw fruits without a peal, be sure to wash them to get rid of germs and chemicals.
At a Restaurant:
We also warn people to be cautious about restaurants, since you never know who is sick or coughing when they're preparing the food. Also, many restaurants have problems with pests. There's a limit to how cautious a person can be, before it starts becoming inconvenient. But if you are at a restaurant and see a sanitation issue, we would recommend discussing it with a manager.
Get enough sleep at night. 7-9 hours are recommended. "The quality of your sleep directly affects your mental and physical health and the quality of your waking life, including your productivity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and even your weight." (Help Guide).
The Mayo Clinic recommends 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise. 30 minutes a day is a good goal. The benefits of exercise according to Medicine Line Plus are that it can help you control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, help your body manage sugar and insulin levels, help you quit smoking, improve your mental health and mood, and boost your immune system.
Don't spend too much time inactive. In the same way that exercise is good for your health, too much sitting around and being inactive can be bad for your health. "Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels." (Mayo Clinic).
Eat healthy. This includes avoiding processed food, buying organic, eating lots of fruits, vegetables and nutrient dense foods, while avoiding things like refined sugar and saturated fats. (HHS.gov). MyPlate has some additional resources for exploring a healthy diet.