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Stay the Course as COVID-19 Restrictions are Relaxed

Healthy Lifestyle
Published: July 3, 2020


You’ve likely noticed more and more people out and about. Perhaps you’ve spotted or attended a neighborhood grill-out with more than 10 people present. Restaurant parking lots are full of cars that aren’t there for takeout. And in some of these cases, you may have seen less people wearing face masks and more people ignoring 6-foot social distancing.

Maybe it’s frustrating to you. Or maybe you’re on board with the relaxing of stay-at-home restrictions and are growing tired of all the preventative recommendations. But as people return to work and start venturing farther from their own backyards, it’s important to remember that the number of COVID-19 cases are on the rise most states. And the same things that have helped ensure your family’s safety over the past several weeks are more important, now, than ever before.
 

Wear a mask

There’s been a lot of debate over this – and a lot of people exercising their right not to wear a mask. But in my opinion, it’s not about rights. It’s simply the right thing to do.

Will it prevent you from contracting COVID-19? Not necessarily, but it can help. More importantly, it will help protect others – especially in areas where social distancing is difficult. I’ll say it again later, but if everyone participates, everyone reaps the benefits.


Wash your hands

Do it often. Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds is one of the best ways to protect yourself and those around you. Wash them after touching anything in public and before touching your face.

Not around a sink or soap? Get in the habit of keeping hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol everywhere it’s convenient: in your purse, in the car and next to the door you use to enter your home.


Disinfect high-touch surfaces and items

The CDC recently changed guidelines and revealed that COVID-19 can’t spread as easily on surfaces as once thought. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. It’s still a good idea to disinfect high-touch areas, such as door handles, keyboards, cell phones and purses.

Worried about exposing your family to harsh chemicals? There are a number of safe and effective cleaners on the market. And when it comes to fresh produce, a homemade soak made up of apple cider vinegar and water (1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup water) will do the trick! Soak fruits and veggies for five minutes, rinse and let dry.


Take care of yourself

Speaking of fruits and veggies – eat plenty of them! A healthy diet and proper hydration are critical to a strong immune system. Same goes for a consistent sleep and exercise schedule.

Work at keeping stress and anxiety levels low by practicing self-care and taking frequent mental breaks. And know that many people are benefitting from professional help during these challenging times.

 

Continue social distancing

Just because many bars, restaurants, salons and other businesses are opening up to 100% capacity, doesn't mean they're safe. The No. 1 way to protect yourself and your family is to continue keeping your distance from others.

As difficult as it’s been, continue staying home as much as possible. If you’re able to, continue working from home. Keep using Zoom and FaceTime to connect with loved ones. Order ahead for pick-up. Limit grocery runs. Consider take-out. If you’re longing for a sit-down meal at a restaurant, choose a table outside, and wear a mask when you’re not seated at a table. These are small but meaningful choices to help protect yourself and those around you.

While you should feel safe visiting your health care provider for important medical appointments, well-child visits and preventative health maintenance exams, know that many providers also offer telehealth virtual appointments.


Be proactive together

If everyone participates, everyone reaps the benefits.

We’re all eager for a return to normalcy – for life to get back to the way it once was. And the sooner we work together to slow the spread of COVID-19, the sooner that can happen.

Do be kind to yourself. You don’t have to do everything perfectly. If you slip up once, it doesn’t negate all the other gestures you’ve made – all your past or future efforts to help slow the spread of COVID-19. But we must not let up or give in to the mentality of: “If everyone else is doing it – dining out, hosting gatherings, skipping on the mask – I might as well, too.” The phrase, “We’ll get through this together,” bears more weight than many people might think. Because until there’s a vaccine, together might be the only way we get through this.

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Maria Vacha

About the Author:

Dr. Maria Vacha, a family medicine physician at Methodist Physicians Clinic Regency, brings a holistic approach to providing care at Methodist, realizing her patients are more than just bodies that need to be taken care of. She also considers their minds and souls when devising treatment plans.

“Being effective in what you’re doing and how you’re caring for someone is really understanding that whole dynamic of a person,” she said.

See More Articles by Maria Vacha