We have all been adjusting to a new way of life during this pandemic. Many people have transitioned to working remotely, taking a gap year, or have looked into starting a remote internship. But what do you do if you still have to go into work? How can you protect yourself and minimize the risk of you contracting the virus?
The first thing that you can do is to ensure that you wear your mask at all times while you are in public. Everyone knows that it’s challenging to breathe in the masks and oftentimes it gets very hot. Not to mention how it causes your lenses to fog up if you must wear glasses. But nonetheless, masks are a necessary step in protecting yourself and those that are around you. You need to wear your mask so that it covers your mouth and nose completely. Wearing it any other way defeats the purpose.
Social distance yourself from others. Although it may be mandatory for you to come into the office, you don’t have to be in the immediate vicinity of others. You need to stay at least six feet away from other people at all times. When it is not possible to stay six feet apart, i.e. in an elevator, be sure to wear your mask, and use it properly!
Consider leaving doors and windows open to increase air circulation. Have you ever walked into a room and it felt stuffy? It probably wasn’t well vented and if you are in an enclosed area or stuffy room with a person who is infected with the virus, or any other infection for that matter, it increases your chance of getting infected as well.
Wash your hands often and for the appropriate length of time! The CDC states that when you wash your hands, you need to do so for at least 20 seconds each time. If you need help keeping track of the time, try humming “Happy Birthday” or the “ABC’s”. Don’t forget to wash between your fingers and under your nails. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
If soap is not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.The alcohol content information can be found on the label. Hand sanitizers are not as effective as using soap and water because they only eliminate 99.9% of germs, but in situations where you do not have access to soap and water, hand sanitizers are the best alternative.
Clean your work area often; phones, keyboards, monitors, etc. Clean with soap and water first and then follow up with a disinfectant. Wear personal protective equipment such as gloves and eye protection when using harsh chemicals. And always ensure that there is proper ventilation.
Wipe down and disinfect items and surfaces frequently touched by other people, such as light switches, door knobs, faucets, door handles, tables, etc. This can be done by using a diluted bleach solution or the soap and water followed by a disinfectant method. If you are disinfecting a soft surface such as a couch, then you may do so by using soap and water. Vacuum as necessary.
If you wear gloves, be sure to change them frequently to avoid cross-contamination. When removing the gloves, grab a glove at the wrist and pull away from your arm and fold it inside out, halfway down. Now repeat this process with your other glove while your fingers are still inside of the first glove. The second glove should be fully inside out and you may complete the process by sliding the rest of the first glove off. This process will avoid touching the outside of the glove. Be sure to still wash your hands after removing gloves.
If you are feeling sick, stay home. If you have respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath) and/or a temperature above 100°F. Report it with your house doctor and only go to a doctor’s office or emergency room after telephoning to see what the medical professional recommends.
Avoid using other people’s belongings such as desks, chairs, staplers and offices when possible. If you must utilize the same office equipment, disinfect before and after each use to minimize the risk of spreading germs.
Avoid large gatherings when possible, and follow the social distancing guidelines when the gatherings are unavoidable. Shared spaces should be staggered
Immediately head to the shower when you get home. You want to get the outside clothes off and cleanse yourself before you start to relax in your home. This will help to keep the germs outside and keep you and your family safe.