April 7, 2020

Best Ways to Maintain Social Distancing

With over 1.3 million recorded cases and more than 72,000 deaths around the world, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is currently in full force. The contagious outbreak has not yet peaked in many nations, yet it has changed life as we know it. Restaurants and bars are closed, planes are flying without passengers, and hospitals are turning to telehealth or virtual primary care. With a vaccine at least 18 months away, this seems like the new normal for most people in the world.

But even as COVID-19 spreads its wings over the world, social distancing is being highlighted as an effective way to hinder and control the spread of this virus. However, for most of us, avoiding outdoor trips and limiting nonessential visits is more difficult than we initially thought.

With that being said, keeping a few points in mind can help you maintain social distancing like it’s meant to be practiced. This way, you can make sure that you are doing your part in battling the novel coronavirus by taking all necessary primary care measures.

Why is Social Distancing Important?

To practice social distancing with the utmost commitment, it is important to understand why it is being recommended by health professionals in the first place.

The Novel Coronavirus is Spread Through Close Contact
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus that can spread through respiratory droplets. It is typically transmitted whenever an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be transferred via nasal discharge or saliva.

This is why, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others. Whereas, newer research argues that even this much distance is not enough to ensure prevention of COVID-19, and you should keep farther away from others in order to keep yourself safe.

The Virus Can Also Live on Surfaces
The novel coronavirus’ spread is not limited to person-to-person transmission. It can also be transmitted if you touch a surface that has been in contact with an infected person. If you touch your face afterwards, you can contract the virus through your eyes, nose or mouth.

This is why health professionals recommend that you wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. It is also where the advice to avoid touching your face comes from.

Social Distancing Fulfills the Preventative Requirements
By itself, social distancing refers to keeping a safe space between yourself and others. In real world usage, the practice is all about avoiding nonessential gatherings and limiting outdoor visits, which effectively fulfills the requirements of maintaining physical distance from others.

While you can clean the surfaces at your home using disinfectants, you do not have the same control at public places. By practicing social distancing, you can lessen your contact with potentially infected surfaces. This lowers your chances of catching the virus.

Social Distancing Helps Us All the Fight Against the Pandemic
By now, it is easy to realize that social distancing is effective at limiting your chances of contracting the novel coronavirus. However, it is also just as much about keeping others safe.

The common symptoms for COVID-19, such as fever, cough, and exhaustion are not visible in everyone. Many people who are infected are asymptomatic, or start showing symptoms after 2-10 days of contracting the virus. This means that you can very well come in contact with a visibly healthy person, who may have the virus without knowing it themselves. Inadvertently, they can transmit the virus to you in a matter of moments.

This also works the other way around. If you have become infected with COVID-19, you may not develop any symptoms at all. But you can still infect others with the virus. This is especially dangerous if you come in contact with older adults, those who are immunocompromised, and those who have underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or respiratory issues. This is one of the many reasons why healthcare professionals are putting an emphasis on virtual primary care for their patients.

By social distancing, you can make sure to fulfill the requirements of not coming in close contact with other people, which keeps you, your loved ones, and others safe. This is also helpful in impeding and controlling the spread of the virus, which prevents the healthcare system from collapsing under extreme spikes of COVID-19 cases.

How Can You Maintain Social Distancing Effectively?

Now that you understand the reasons behind social distancing and its benefits to you and others, it will get easier for you to adapt lifestyle changes that seemed difficult to you at first.

The following tips can help you do all you can for social distancing, while also ensuring that you can fulfill these demanding measures with ease.

Limit Nonessential Gatherings
The current lockdowns have resulted in temporary closure of schools, as well as the shutdown of restaurants, bars, and various businesses.

But many people are still gathering in public parks and going to each others’ homes to kill their time. Most of these are also accompanied by their children. However, this practice is highly risky and goes against all warnings of primary care against the novel coronavirus.

To limit the spread of COVID-19, it is crucial that you avoid nonessential gatherings at all costs. This also includes visiting public parks to meet up with friends or taking your children on playdates. The change in your routine might be daunting. But it is essential that you take these difficult steps now to avoid even more stressful situations later.

Keep in Touch Via Digital Communication
Missing your family members and your friends while you are locked away in your own home can be daunting. But you don’t have to go out to keep in touch with others. You can turn to digital communication to fulfill your social needs without putting yourself or anyone else at harm.

Doing video calls, voice calls and texts can ensure that you are still up to date with the day to day happenings of your loved ones’ lives. Social media is also a great way to be connected to almost all of the people in your life, while also following the rules of social distancing.

Keep Yourself Busy
If you are currently working from home or just relaxing with your family, then you might be free of the constraints of following a strict schedule. But the absence of a daily routine can lead you to the trap of self-exhaustion, poor personal hygiene, or the craving to go out to do new things. It can also cause you to feel anxious or depressed about the uncertainty of the situation.

To make sure that you stay away from these consequences, follow a daily routine and keep yourself busy. Binge watch shows if you want, but don’t stay up too late to finish just one more episode. Play games and solve puzzles with your family, but don’t let them waver you off of your schedule for productive activities. You can also keep yourself entertained by indulging into hobbies you always wanted to try on, such as cooking, baking, painting or writing. This practice saves you from being bored of being inside of your home at all times.

Shop Responsibly
While many people are giving in to panic buying and hoarding supplies such as toilet paper, others are only purchasing one item at a time. If you follow the former approach, it strips others from being able to buy supplies; and if you go with the latter, it requires you to go out every other day. In order to practice social distancing as a community, it is essential that you find the balance between these two methods.

Make a list of essential grocery, pharmacy, and personal care items that you need on a daily basis, and buy these supplies for about a week ahead. Effective meal planning and finding ways to consume leftovers also goes a long way.

Do Virtual Medical Visits
One of the biggest questions during the COVID-19 pandemic comes in the form of maintaining your and your family’s medical needs.

That’s where virtual primary care comes in. By keeping in touch with your doctor through phone or video calls, you can fulfill your day to day medical care needs without having to take a step out of your home. This also applies to mental health professionals, who provide targeted therapy through video and voice calls.

COVID-19 presents an unprecedented and previously unknown challenge to the world, which makes it difficult to grapple with the changes that it has brought to our lives. However, by doing our part of simply staying at home, we can defeat this pandemic together.

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