How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19 When you Need to Go Out
Many in the community are practicing social distancing and getting out as little as possible. As the confirmed cases of COVID-19 rise in Comanche County, you may be getting nervous about having to be out for errands you cannot completely avoid such as occasional grocery shopping. Although feeling apprehensive about going out is understandable, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself while you are out. Here are a few:
Limit going inside businesses as much as possible
Many businesses, especially restaurants, are offering curbside delivery or drive-thru options as dining in is not an option right now. If you’re unsure if the business you need to visit is offering such services, it does not hurt to call and ask them if they would mind accommodating you.
Also, consider having essentials delivered or take turns running errands with a friend. The fewer people out on any given day, the better! If you are elderly or in the high-risk category for contracting COVID-19 due to health reasons, you may wish to reach out to a friend or neighbor. He or she would probably love to help you out. If you know of someone who is unemployed due to the outbreak, he or she could probably use some extra cash in exchange for helping you out as well. Lawton Family YMCA is also offering to pick up groceries for seniors who order groceries through the Walmart grocery app.
Make use of technology
You may wish to ask simple things like documents to be mailed or emailed to you instead of visiting a business. Take advantage of video chat options like FaceTime, Skype or Zoom to conduct business whenever possible.
If you have a non-urgent medical need, call your physician first to see what your options are. Many people also have access to free telemedicine services through the insurance provider. Memorial Medical Group is also providing access to telemedicine through many of our clinics.
Make a protective masks
When you do go out, try to wear a protective mask. Please remember our people working on the “front lines” of this epidemic. Our health professionals, restaurant workers, grocery clerks, etc., need masks and gloves more than anyone. Protecting them protects us all as they will likely be exposed to more carriers of COVID-19 than most of us.
However, you can find instructions on how to sew a homemade mask. Even if it isn’t the N-95 masks that provide the best protection, it can still keep you from touching your face which in return could possibly keep you from contracting the virus.
Think outside the box on how to protect your hands. Don’t touch items you don’t intend to buy. Use another type of plastic besides gloves. There have been people using bags used to clean up after their dogs when they take them outside to “take care of business!”
Sanitize your hands often
Sanitize your hands before going in and after leaving a business. If you can’t find sanitizer, you can make your own using alcohol and aloe vera gel.
Change your clothing as soon as possible
Before entering your home, remove your shoes and spray them with disinfectant. Remove clothes as soon as you enter and put them directly into the washing machine. You can wash them later if needed, but this keeps you from having to pick them up again before washing.
Sanitize items and let them sit
The COVID-19 virus can last hours to days on items depending on what material the item is made of. If possible, seal the bag grocery items are in to protect them, spray with disinfectant spray, and let it sit for a few days.
Wipe down surfaces touched by new items entering your home
If you can’t find disinfectant wipes in stores, you can make those too using paper towels and rubbing alcohol to wipe down surfaces.
Don’t allow anyone else to put items purchased away
To limit exposure to others living in the household, only the person who picked up items should put them away. This will help limit the exposure to any germs lingering on the items from others who have not yet touched them.
Have other questions about COVID-19? Visit ccmhhealth.com/covid-19-resources.
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