Best Practices During COVID-19
"As the only caregiver for my 90-year old father, I’m not sure what to do to protect the both of us. Even doing essential things like grocery shopping puts me, and therefore him, at risk. What steps should I take so that I don’t bring COVID-19 home? I’m concerned because he is quite vulnerable."
At times like this, you should take every reasonable precaution that you can when out in the community, as community-spread COVID-19 is becoming more common.
The primary way we contract this disease is from being in close proximity to someone who is shedding the virus. It is essential to maintain a distance of at least six feet from all other individuals. You simply don’t know who has or is shedding this virus right now, so it’s important to assume that everyone is affected.
The grocery store will indeed be your primary destination during this time. To be the safest you can, order online and pull up to the store to load your trunk. Don’t go near any store employees. Upon returning home, carry your groceries in and wash your hands with soap and water. Next, remove your groceries from the bags and store them in your cupboards. Viruses can only live on surfaces for so long, so if you leave the containers to sit for a few days, that should render the virus inactive. You could wipe down each item with soap and water, but that would be quite a bit of work.
If you’re more comfortable going into the store, do that. Try to avoid the most crowded times, and stay at least six feet away from everyone in the store. Wipe the handle of your cart, wash your hands with soap and water when you get home, and don’t touch your face while you’re out.
You can wear a mask and eye protection. The eyes, nose and mouth are all portals to your body. Most viruses enter through the face via exchange of human bodily fluids. Only an N95 mask is rated to best capture viruses and even that mask is not guaranteed to prevent any virus from getting through. Isolation and distance are the best solutions to prevent picking up this virus.
The most important thing you can do right now is keep others from visiting you or your father. It’s fine to go outside, but stay out of the “sneeze zone” of anyone else if out for a walk. Wash your hands every time you return home. The surfactant action of soap with water dislodges the virus and rinses it away.
You are smart to be concerned and cautious. If you’re taking the isolation instructions seriously, you are doing your best to protect yourself and your father. It’s good to be thoughtful right now. Be well.
Family Caregiving Advice Column
Written by CEO, Mary Haynor, this newsletter is packed with useful tips, resources and practices that will make the lives of family caregivers easier.Learn More...
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