Pandemic fatigue is REAL. There is no denying that everyone is ready to ditch the masks, hug their loved ones, and eat meals where someone else can cook and clean. The “do this”, “don’t do that”, pandemic lifestyle has overstayed its welcome. However, there is something to be learned. There are simple, smart, and savvy ways to ensure that public health issues are prevented and everyone stays happy and healthy. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic, don’t forget these 7 healthy practices that have undeniable value.
If we have heard it once, right? Hopefully, by now, everyone has bought into the handwashing game to prevent public health issues. Whether you sing the ABCs or say a fun little rhyme, quality time with the sink is well spent. Push comes to shove, the CDC lets us know that hand sanitizer (of at least 60% alcohol) is a decent second to good ole’ fashion soap and water. The CDC reminds us that handwashing can prevent diarrhea-related illnesses, such as norovirus and Clostridioides difficile (C. diff), and respiratory illnesses, such as colds and flu.
Think of it this way, just imagine that every surface you touch is covered in germs that someone else left behind from a bathroom visit, cough, or sneeze, and then imagine putting your hands in your mouth with all those bugs. Gross. Even if you are not a nervous nail-biter, people touch their faces, mouth, or objects that come in contact with their nose, mouth, and eyes countless times a day; every time providing an opportunity for microorganisms to enter the body. Clean is the new cool, so wash those mitts in order to prevent public health issues in the future.
Take A Sick Day
The American culture is often “all work and no play”. Honestly, we are horrible at finding a work-life balance, taking care of ourselves on the day-to-day, and even worse when we are sick. Most people will opt for pushing through and working when they feel under the weather so they can spend their missed days doing something fun or relaxing.
Instead, tissues get stuffed in pockets, and over-the-counter cold and flu treatments are taken around the clock. The downfall? Other than suffering through the workday, everyone else is exposed to your germs, increasing the risk for public health issues. Before you know it, that office phone is a petri dish and employees start calling out. So here is your permission. Take a sick day. Stay in bed, eat soup, keep your robe on, watch the boob tube, and let your mind and body recover.
Get Your Fitness On
One positive practice that came out of social distancing was people found ways to get active. Days at the park, exercise classes in parking lots, building home gyms, and outdoor excursions in the wilderness, filled people’s days. Walks around the neighborhood became an escape from the home office and redundant virtual learning and meetings. Where people did not have the time pre-pandemic to exercise, the COVID-19 pandemic allowed people the time and forced them to become creative.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reveals that exercise has lifelong benefits including decreasing heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, stress, and many other conditions and diseases. So leave that exercise bike where you put it, keep your virtual gym membership going (for the days that your too busy or tired to get to the gym), and commit to a life of physical fitness and decreasing public health issues.
Stay Up-To-Date On Vaccines
HealthyPeople.gov states that people are living longer due to the administration of vaccines. Many diseases are on the decline or eradicated thanks to vaccines. We saw the value firsthand in the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaccines play an important role in the health of the general public and an even more important role for those that are elderly, pregnant, young, or immunocompromised. Childhood immunizations, yearly flu vaccines, and boosters are all effective for preventing public health issues and diseases for ourselves and others. Be sure to make an appointment with a primary care provider to ensure that your vaccinations are up to date.
Of all the things that the COVID-19 pandemic brought awareness to, cleaning surfaces has to be at the top of the list. Truth be told, moms of small children and people with immune system disorders have been in the know for quite some time. However, the rest of the world joined in on the cleaning party as the COVID-19 pandemic got underway. Seriously, surfaces should have been sanitized all along. Top of the list is grocery carts, door handles, phones, steering wheels, and other high touchpoints. Save yourself, along with others, many trips to the doctor’s office by buying into this practice to reduce public health issues.
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Be In The Know
Buzzwords like “PPE”, “airborne precautions”, “pandemic”, “virus”, “communicable”, and “N-95” took the world by storm. These terms are not new. Words like these, and many more, are included in everyday conversations between healthcare workers. For healthcare professionals and laypersons, there are tons of health information sources such as articles, journals, studies, and websites that can be used to educate oneself on health-related topics. All of which is at your fingertips. Continue taking time to learn about healthcare advances, practices, and treatments to be able to make well educated decisions for yourself and your family.
Modified Social Distancing
If everyone was honest, we could all find nice aspects of social distancing. For example, not feeling crowded in public places. Now that restrictions are being lifted and families and friends are safely mingling, we may need to think about retaining some social distancing practices. Grocery pickup, drive-thrus, distanced wait lines, and distancing in public places may be a great idea, especially during cold and flu season.
Public health issues are everyone’s responsibility. Keeping ourselves, our family, and our community healthy, can help decrease healthcare utilization and costs. Not to mention, keep everyone feeling at the top of their game. Although the COVID-19 plexiglass barriers are slowly coming down and masks are coming off, let’s keep our commitment to health stronger than ever by keeping effective health practices in place.
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