The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has brought several changes that are quickly becoming the new normal. However, there are still many uncertainties about what will keep ourselves and our loved ones as safe as possible, while rediscovering new routines in work, life, and play. What does safety really look like while establishing this new normal? Here are a few guidelines and some myth-busting tips that will set anyone up for a safe and productive life.
Face Mask Safety
Let’s do a quick review of mask safety, because the guidelines have been changing as new information is discovered about the virus. It's a significant line of defense for anyone leaving their home that’s worth fully understanding. First, let’s dispel the myth that masks are only worn to protect those in the wearer's vicinity. Masks do protect others, but when the right mask is selected and worn correctly, it protects the wearer as well.
Safe masks will have three layers, and to quickly summarize, will have several features. The outer layer should be hydrophobic, meaning it will naturally repel water to help keep any infected water droplets from penetrating the mask. The middle layer will be a tight-weave filter that catches particles and debris, potentially including water and some virus particles. And the inner layer will be hydrophilic, meaning that it wicks water away from the face, maximizing comfort and reducing bacteria build-up.
Some masks will even come with Nano-Silver Technology that helps fight bacteria at the microbial level to ensure the wearer’s continued safety from a variety of illnesses, not just airborne viruses.
Safe masks will also fit correctly, meaning they create a seal against the skin all the way around the face. The seal will remain in place along the bridge of the nose and under the chin with no gaps along the cheeks. Many masks come with adjustable straps to help ensure the best fit while leaving room for the wearer to talk, without the mask dropping below the nose or chin.
These are just a few of the basics of mask wearing that help keep everyone safe. Many wonder, is it enough? There are a few more things everyone needs to do as part of their day-to-day routine to maintain safety for themselves and others.
How to Avoid Getting Sick
The real question everyone wants to answer is how to avoid getting sick or getting others sick. Choosing the right mask and wearing it correctly is crucial, but it’s not the only way to stay safe. Many people think wearing masks and social distancing are the only real ways to stay safe. But there are a number of easy-to-incorporate best practices that will keep everyone safe and healthy, as long as they’re everyday habits.
Reviewing best practices for healthy living can remind everyone how many opportunities there are throughout the day to stay safe from the virus and optimize overall health and well-being.
While most people now remember to carry high-quality hand sanitizer in their pocket or purse, and to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, awareness can often be their downfall. Remember always to wash hands and use sanitizer after touching anything outside the home and before eating. Being aware of where your hands have been can save your life.
One of the first warnings promoted in the early days of the pandemic was to stop touching your face. While masks help keep us from touching our nose, mouth and the surrounding area, everyone should be getting in the habit of not touching their face unless they have just washed their hands. This includes rubbing your eyes and touching others’ faces as their caregivers.
Probably the most challenging safety measure for many is social distancing. Maintaining at least six feet of distance indoors and outdoors is crucial to prevent the spread of the virus.
Face shields and goggles
Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently advised the public during an ABC News interview to use goggles or an eye shield, if you have them. He further noted that face and eye shields are "not universally recommended" at this time, but said, “if you really want to be complete, you should probably use it if you can."
While the focus of health and safety is primarily on developing new habits to keep everyone safe, there are best practices that shouldn’t be forgotten. Eating healthfully, exercising regularly, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, and practicing good mental health habits are important ways to keep the body’s immunity functioning at peak performance so it’s prepared to fight infections of all types.
Many believe that there is no immune defense against the coronavirus. While humans don’t have a natural immunity to COVID-19, everyone can make a concerted effort to optimize their health to ensure the best possible chances of fighting all infections, including COVID-19.
Everyone’s immune system is what fights the virus, even without antibodies. Ensuring your body and lifestyle are optimized will give you and your loved ones the best chances to stay safe and healthy. Choose the right mask and wear it correctly.
Plus, develop new habits, such as washing hands frequently, not touching your face or others’ faces without washing your hands, and social distancing. For those looking for an added edge, either because they just want to be safer, or because they are a caregiver or have at-risk people in their household, wearing goggles or face shields can be a valuable added measure.
While the public discourse often centers around the death toll, millions have faced the virus and recovered. It’s essential to treat these health and safety measures as the new normal, inviting optimism for more recoveries and fewer infections, as the world finds new ways to socialize, work and play together.