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Person to Person: Choose side of caution to protect loved ones

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In this file photo, a boy wears a mask while riding an amusement pier ride on July 3, 2020, in Wildwood, NJ. Coronavirus infections among U.S. children grew 40% in the last half of July, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association. (Mark Makela/Getty Images/TNS)

Our “new normal” lifestyle during the pandemic is wearing on the nerves of most people. We’re only human.

But, if we all go into warrior mode, we can move back toward our true normal. We can defeat COVID-19.

First of all, let’s take a quick look at how Wikipedia describes a virus. Simply put, any virus is smaller than a cell. It can’t reproduce itself unless it lands on a living cell and pulls life (protein, etc.) from that cell.

“I think of a virus as needing a warm, moist place to land,” says a nurse we’ll call Charlene. “The coronavirus would ideally love to land in your eyes, inside your mouth, inside your throat, lungs, etc.”

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Defeating our hidden enemy means we all need to imagine what’s going to work. “We have to starve the darned thing out,” Charlene declares.

None of us likes to alter how we dress, where we go, whom we can see. It’s maddening.

But, if we fight smartly and quickly, we can hunker down and get ready for science to deliver more help.

Here’s what we all can do, as best we can, to starve the virus:

  • Wear a mask and other protection. For example, do you realize a medical shield — which makes you look like a welder — keeps the virus out of your eyes? So do goggles. Your eyeballs and corner areas of the eyes are vulnerable places the virus can reach by floating on someone’s droplets (spit).
  • Remove your mask with caution every time. Touching the front of your mask with your hands defeats the purpose.
  • Sanitize your debit or credit card after every use. Do this with sanitizing wipes, not hand sanitizer. The wipes don’t leave a gunky residue.
  • Wear at least one glove on your right hand. Use that hand to pump gas, sign documents, open a hospital door, or your car door. Carefully peel that glove off when you can, and toss it, making sure you turn the glove inside out.
  • Never touch your shoes with your hands. As you walk through the office at a necessary doctor’s appointment or a restaurant allowing dine-in, other people’s droplets (spit) are moving down toward the floor.

We personally know of four adults and one child in our area who have tested positive. Three of these adults worked in a building as cleaning staff. They wonder if they could have picked up the virus on their shoes while walking around the building.
“Most of us never think anything about sitting down to untie our shoes,” says Max, a COVID-19 patient in this vulnerable group of three. “I was covered with protective gear from head to toe, and so were my co-workers, but we didn’t think of wearing disposable surgical booties over our shoes.”

If all of go us into extra-cautious mode, we can turn the tide and protect people. Make it a game in your family and with your friends to invent new caution techniques.

“Don’t share your cell phone with your kids,” says a physician’s assistant we’ll call Ruth. “Don’t share a cold drink through a straw with anyone. Don’t even share a razor to shave your legs with your teenage daughter.”

If each of us becomes guardians of our family and friends circle, and we get them to join us, we can help science put us back into a normal mode of living.

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Judi Light Hopson is author of the stress management book, “Cooling Stress Tips.” She is also executive director of USA Wellness Café at usawellnesscafe.org . Emma Hopson is a nurse educator. Ted Hagen is a family psychologist. ©2020 Person to Person. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Related Topics: HEALTH
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