Getting more specific about social distancing & hand washing
By Mary Wade Triplett
The topic was about something people do but rarely talk about.
“You can pick your nose as long as your hands are clean,” she said. “Just wash your hands really well, pick your nose, and then wash your hands really well again.”
We at Monongalia County Health Department have been telling people ways to avoid getting sick: Don’t touch your face, practice social distancing, wash your hands, etc.
But as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads and as we deal with an outbreak in the community, it’s time to be more specific.
So about not touching your face: We know it’s difficult. Eyes itch and noses, well, there can be a lot going on in there even when we don’t have an upper respiratory infection.
However, one of the ways COVID-19 spreads is by introducing the virus into your eyes, nose or mouth. Your hands come in contact with the virus and then you touch your face.
That’s why we recommend washing your hands often. You know the drill by now. Warm water, soap, friction, 20 seconds. Or long enough to imagine what it would have been like for the WVU basketball team to have gone all the way during the March Madness that never was and belt out the chorus of a celebratory “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
Or maybe you’ve seen the meme: “Wash your hands like you’ve been chopping jalapenos and you have to put your contact lenses in.”
Soap and warm water are much better in killing the virus than hand sanitizers, although alcohol-based sanitizers do provide protection.
You stocked up on hand lotion during your last grocery trip, right?
About those grocery trips. That’s where the social distancing comes ind. If you can, consider going when the store might be less crowded. Avoid getting close to people. Also, commit to the item you want to purchase. Try not to pick something up and put it back. I’ve been using a pen to punch in my debit card code. Stores might have their own rules posted as well. And you might have encountered “contact free” food take-out. That helps protect everybody.
Also, make a list so you can limit trips. You’ve probably seen the posts about staying home so those who have to go to work can do so more safely. It’s really true. I’m not on the front lines of this battle like our doctors and nurses are, but at the health department, I am somewhat front-line adjacent.
But we’re trying to keep our sense of humor. For instance, one day this week, I got my daily temperature checked by a dental hygienist who was dancing to “Stayin’ Alive.”
So please, stay home as much as you can. If you’ve been tested for COVID-19, not only should you stay home but also distance yourselves from everyone, including those in your household. That also goes for people with symptoms, or who are sick with other illnesses, even the common cold.
And you want your home to be safe too. Wiping down surfaces with a 10 % bleach solution is also effective in killing this virus. This can be easily made by taking a third of a cup of household beach and adding it to a gallon of water, then using this to wipe down surfaces where viruses can live for days on stainless steel.
Finally, I always tout Monongalia County Health Department’s social media, but if you already don’t “like” or follow us, now would be a really good time to start. That way, you can get frequent updates on what is going on. It’s @wvmchd on Facebook and Twitter and wvmchd on Instagram. We also created a new web page.