Hi Everyone! I am glad to be back this week with some valuable information. As I write, I am hoping that all of you are doing well despite the loneliness and isolation that comes with quarantine. I know that when we entered this experience, we didn’t know how long it was going to go on. Many of you are still trying to work or run a business and I can’t imagine the extra stress that quarantine has probably added to either or both of those. I am hopeful we are through the peak of this virus; however, it is important to know that it still exists. There is no vaccine, we still don’t have a clear-cut way in which to treat people who get the virus, and lung patients are surely at the top of the list for people who are most at risk. Whether we agree with it or not, I am seeing a trend through media that states are starting to “open up.” It is just a fact that our elected officials are feeling the pressure from those who want to go back to regular life. I know that many of you are struggling financially and so you don’t consider working optional at this point, but more of a necessity. It is not for my blog to judge or make an opinion on whether or not our country is ready or not to reopen. Everyone has different circumstances that they are dealing with. I just want to make sure you all are prepared for life after COVID-19 quarantine.
Here are my thoughts on how to prepare:
1. Quarantine ends when you want it to – Many of those who must go back to work don’t have a choice in whether or not they have to leave their homes, however, anything “extra” is up to you. You decide (other than your job that you attend) when and where you want to be present in the public. You don’t have to go out unless you need or want to be out. Keep that in mind. Don’t feel the pressure from others to go back to life as you knew it so quickly. I can understand that we all miss our friends and family members so much (I’m right there with you). People are going to want to get big groups together and see one another after such a prolonged time of isolation. My recommendation is to be very careful with how many and how often you gather.
2. Don’t stop social distancing – Even if you decide to venture out. Keep in mind that the COVID-19 virus is still present. Keep your distance from others. If you decide to gather, don’t greet people with hugs or handshakes. Maintaining that “6 feet apart” distance will give you more security in avoiding the virus. Remember to social distance if you must use a mass transit system. Stay away from others by putting as much space as you can between you and others riding with you. Also, avoid touching surfaces. Wash your hands immediately after arriving at your destination.
3. Continue to wear your mask in public places – Let’s face it. Face coverings are a thing of the present. I really believe there won’t be a stigma anymore that people are “overreacting” to avoid getting sick as they may have in the past. COVID-19 changed everything when it comes to how society feels about viruses. Continue to wear your face mask when you go to the grocery stores, Walmart, Target, etc.
4. Hand hygiene is EVERYTHING – We all know that the easiest way to get this virus is having it on your hands and then touching your face. Washing your hands frequently will be a key component to staying well. If family members or friends come over to gather, make sure all are washing their hands upon arrival. I compare it to when my husband and I first brought our babies home from the hospital and visitors would come over. Use that same thought process when it comes to your health.
5. Shop when there are few people out – As I mentioned before, avoiding large crowds is a good way to lessen your chance of getting ill. I would recommend that if you must go out to shop etc. try to do it when the probability of a store being busy is low. Try early morning hours or late evening hours. Avoid stopping by the store for just a couple of items. Wait until you need several things before you venture out. Remember to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after shopping.
6. Bring your own reading material if you resume doctors’ visits – Many of my patients have rescheduled their “well checks” and other doctors’ visits. If you plan to resume scheduled appointments with your physician, do not pick up the magazines and other periodicals in the waiting and exam rooms that may have been handled by other patients. Bring your own reading material to keep you occupied while waiting.
7. Consider telemedicine - If you are feeling anxious about seeing your physician for your regularly scheduled visit many physician offices have started and will continue to have telemedicine options. If it is a possibility, ask if your appointment could be converted to a telemedicine appointment so that you don’t feel the pressure of going in yet can still meet with your doctor. Keep in mind that telemedicine appointments will still be at a charge to your insurance. Find out if these appointments are covered and if you will incur any extra fees.
8. Possibly prepare for a second wave – As much as I don’t want to think about it, there is a possibility that we could have a second wave of high cases in the United States in the fall. I say that not to scare you, but to make sure that you prepare yourself and your household that you may have to go through another quarantine. I can only hope that our healthcare leaders, as well as our government, will make progress in developing a vaccine or a strong method for treating COVID-19 in the next several months.
As you know, even with vaccines… nothing is foolproof and 100% effective. If you think about it though, through education from people like your doctor and others in the online pulmonary community, you have the knowledge on how best to avoid getting COVID-19. Remember not to let your guard down and get complacent with hand hygiene and social distancing. Your health is your top priority.
Have any other suggestions for my readers after quarantine? Be sure to comment below or on social media to let us know your tips!
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Thanks for Reading and Stay Well!
Remember: We are in this TOGETHER!
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