Coronavirus – Time to panic or Time to start new daily habits?

I live in Ohio. We just received an announcement that our health department is investigating possible cases of Coronavirus. I admit, I had a moment of panic. You see, in my family we have three members who are high risk. Then I took a breath and my nursing training kicked in.

I became an RN at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. We had no idea what the disease was or how it was transmitted or how to treat it. After AIDS – TB outbreaks, SARS, Zeka, Ebola. All frightening because of the unknown elements.

I am writing this to offer Common Sense during these times. We should all focus on what we CAN do to protect ourselves EVERY DAY. Let’s start new healthy habits – habits we can continue after Coronavirus and onward.

1. Stay home if we are sick. I understand when people hear that and roll their eyes. That is sometimes easier said than done I admit. I was a single mom. So – there was no one to get groceries when I felt sick, no one to put gas in the car, no one to give me a paycheck if I stayed home. I know how hard that can be to follow – If I can clean and cook, I can go to work and get my paycheck. We just have to give in and stay home. In the long run, you will recover faster with fluids and a few days rest.(LOL Not that taking care of your kids when you are sick is ever restful). You will also stop the transmission of your germs to others by staying home.

2. Wash Your Hands. This is the BEST thing we can do to protect ourselves each and every day. We all know to wash our hands after using the bathroom and before cooking, but how about before eating, before putting in or taking out our contacts, before putting on our make-up? I say – When in doubt Wash it out ! You cannot wash your hands too many times a day. Hand washing will not 100% guarantee we will remain healthy, but it is the best routine to have.

3. Hand Sanitizer. I carry hand sanitizer . I use it when soap and water is not available. It’s a good tool to have in our germ arsenal, but does NOT replace hand washing. I saw on the news last night bottles of hand sanitizer being sold for 25.00 dollars. Wow. Way to scare people and gouge them during a crisis. I have a solution. There is a fantastic DIYer named Kelly Barlow who’s You Tube Channel is Kelly Barlow Creations. She posted a DIY on making your own hand sanitizer. It is a mixture of at least 70% Rubbing Alcohol and Aloe Gel. I found 91% rubbing alcohol at both Kroger’s and Walmart. I used Aloe Gel (without lidocaine) from Dollar Tree. Mixed my batch together 2:1 (alcohol : aloe gel) and poured it into plastic travel bottles from Dollar Tree. I will give each family member a kit (can carry in purse or keep in car). The kit will contain hand sanitizer, 70% alcohol wipes and some disposable gloves. I have carried the same kit in my purse and one in my car for years. I wipe my cart handle down to shop. After loading bags in car – I hand sanitize. I then go home, put items away and wash my hands. This is my “normal” routine.

4. Surface Germs. Many germs can fall onto and live on the surfaces around us. You come along – touch the surface- then touch your face ( Boom- transfer of germs). To help lower your risk, clean the surfaces around you often. I carry alcohol pads (70% alcohol) in my kit. I use them to wipe down door handles, shopping cart handles, my phone (think about that. Everyone’s mouth comes in contact with the phone – Everyone’s!)

5. Flu Shots and other immunizations. I know that this is an area of controverse. Each person must review scientific evidence and make their own choice. I personally have always taken flu shots. My husband gets them. My children get them. I always made sure my kids had all their immunizations. My kids are now adults and I still remind them that it’s time to get flu shots. One does – One chooses not.

So – my question to all of you is – Will coronavirus have you changing your routine? Will you continue this new routine long after coronavirus is gone? I hope all of you and your families remain healthy.

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