In light of the recent outbreak and constant media coverage of Coronavirus (COVID-19), I want to inform you of some widely accepted practices and tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) on how to best protect yourself and prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses.
Proper hygiene, vigilant hand washing, respiratory care with regard to sneezing and coughing, reporting any symptoms to your own primary care physician, and maintaining overall good health (hydration, nutrition, sleep, prescription medications as ordered, avoiding people known to be ill) is what the CDC and WHO are recommending.
Ten tips to help you prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses:
1. Cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to.
2. Wash your hands (often) for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, and/or use a 60% or greater alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
3. Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home's entrances, and in your car for use after getting gas or touching other public surfaces.
4. Don’t shake hands – instead, fist bump, wave, etc.
5. Don’t touch your face.
6. Open doors with your closed fist or hip - do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. Especially important on bathroom and post office/commercial doors.
7. Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches, elevator buttons, etc.
- Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.
- If you have a fever or feel sick, stay home and call your PCP.
- Get the flu vaccine – it’s not too late!
Where can you learn more about COVID-19?
For updated information, visit the DPH website: www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus.
Joanne MacInnis, RN, is the founder and president of Aberdeen Home Care, Inc., of Danvers, a concierge private duty home care agency in business since 2001. With 35 years of nursing practice, management and administration experience focused on home care and hospice, Joanne and her team specialize in advising and supporting families addressing the elders in their lives retain dignity and quality of life.