However you feel about the politics of COVID-19, it has hopefully helped residents of Long Beach and elsewhere become more aware of the importance of good hygiene and sanitation.
Certainly vulnerable people with weak immune systems, including those receiving 24-hour care, should have already been taking steps to avoid infection such as keeping common areas clean. But the spring pandemic has become an ideal opportunity for more of us to improve our sanitation techniques and general awareness of contamination.
The team at Accredited Home Care has made sure we continue the mission of providing care to the elderly, the disabled, the homebound, and others who rely on our services. We’ve also been through other epidemics and public health emergencies over the 40 years we’ve been in business.
Each one has been an opportunity to educate our staff and our clients, and also learn and improve our procedures. We have an important responsibility in helping our clients cope with the crazy things that are happening in the world, and suggest strategies for easy ways to adapt and incorporate new safety measures.
Although the State of California plans on phasing out its restrictions over the summer, the hope is that people and business owners will still continue some of these behaviors to reduce the risk of future health epidemics.
Time to seek improvements
Some of the patients we work with didn’t mind the social restrictions. Many were in a higher-risk group due to age or health conditions so it made sense for them to stay home, keep their areas clean, and avoid in-person social interactions as much as possible.
Besides hopefully avoiding others who could potentially infect them, they also wanted to reduce the risk of infecting others if they happened to be sick and didn’t realize it.
Some of these practices are smart to continue, whether it’s another wave of COVID-19 later this year like some predict, or other public health emergencies that could come in the future. That’s some of the advice from the National Safety Council, a nonprofit safety advocate. The organization focuses on education in regards to methods to reduce causes of injury and death.
The NSC is also sponsoring National Safety Month, which takes place in June. The goal of the month is to offer opportunities and educational materials to help people at home and in workforces who want to reduce injuries and prevent risk as much possible.
For those looking for ways to practice and continue good hygiene methods, or even introduce new ones, try some of these strategies. Some come right from the Centers for Disease Control, which is also trying to discourage unsafe conditions now and in the future.
- Continue social distancing. If you go outside, try to stay at least 6 feet away from people, and discourage them from getting too close to you. Some stores or public areas may have marked these boundaries with stickers or footprint markers so you can have a general idea of this distance. You don’t have to do anything disruptive like pull out a tape measure but you can also look for opportunities to educate and follow the rules yourself. These can also be adapted to ‘house rules’ too and have people stay further apart at home, whether it’s a backyard barbecue or movie night.
- Continue to clean. Places that have been touched regularly by you and anyone besides you should be wiped down regularly with some kind of cleaning solution, such as antiseptic wipes or cleaners. This isn’t just COVID-19 related but a good idea for other potential infections, such as the flu. This can include common surfaces like light switches, doorknobs, phones, sinks, toilet handles, and more. Initially, there was fear that packages could be contaminated, but research in May has shown that this is less likely. Good cleaning also can mean throwing away contaminated items quickly like used tissue, or not using other people’s glasses or silverware.
- Seek out other options. Even if much of the state is trying to get back to normal, which may never completely happen, it’s OK to continue to request accommodations for your own safety and comfort, including paying bills online, having work meetings through video conferencing apps, and ordering take-out or delivery from restaurants. You might find that others appreciate you continuing to take things seriously.
- Wear a mask when indoors. Masks may mean different things to different people, but health officials seem united on their value in being able to reduce the spread of general infection, especially through droplets in a sneeze or cough. Masks are generally complementary to social distancing especially indoors. If there’s plenty of space between people and you feel in good health, you may not need a mask. But if things get crowded and you worry about yourself or others, a mask might be a fine idea.
- Be calm. It’s natural to feel scared and threatened with all these changes and disruption taking place. Your mental state can also play a role in your overall physical health and susceptibility to disease and infection. A good state can also help you adapt better.
Since people are still going to have concerns, the CDC has created a useful “Household Checklist.” It focuses on COVID-19 but can be used for other infection prevention efforts as well.