A man disinfecting his car while wearing a face covering.
Healthy Living

How to Protect Yourself in Public From COVID-19

Apr 20 2020

As new measures and precautions are implemented to stop the spread of COVID-19, it can be confusing to know how to best protect yourself when leaving the house.

It is important to note that social distancing orders are still in place. This means the only times you should be going to public places are for essential trips to the pharmacy, health care facilities for urgent medical care, the grocery store and going outside to exercise. If you are ill or experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, you should be staying at home unless you need emergency medical care.

When venturing out on these essential trips, take the following steps to best protect yourself from COVID-19 and protect your family members when you get back home.

Going Out

Put on a cloth face covering

People are now being asked to wear cloth face coverings in public settings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The reason for this new measure is studies showing that there are many COVID-19 carriers who have no symptoms.

Always wear a cloth face covering when going out to public places. You can make your own using common items. Please don’t purchase surgical masks or N-95 respirators, because these are critical supplies for health care workers to use.

Choose non-busy times

By going into public during times when there aren’t a lot of people around, you can reduce the number of people you are exposed to. For example, when walking outside, try to go during a time of day when you will share the sidewalk with fewer people.

Keep your time in public to a minimum

Make sure to be as efficient as possible during your time out. If you need to go to the pharmacy and the grocery, go to both in the same trip. Also, make a list for the grocery store so you don’t spend lots of time casually shopping.

When picking up your necessary items, try to stock up a little more than usual. This will cut down on the number of trips you’ll need to take and allow you to stay home for longer periods of time.

Avoid shared surfaces

Try your best to not touch shared surfaces when out in public. Some tips include using your hips, feet or elbows to push open doors as well as using your knuckles on any keypads. Also, use automated options whenever they are available. Bringing hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes on your trip out is a good idea.

It is very important to not touch your face, eyes and mouth in public in case your hands have been contaminated.

Keep your distance

Always keep a safe distance of at least six feet between yourself and others in public settings. Also, leave the kids at home during your essential errands. This way you are not chasing them around while also trying to keep space between yourself and others.

Coming Home

Wash your hands

Wash your hands the moment you get home from being out in public. Handwashing is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19, especially if you have been exposed to any contaminated surfaces. Wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

Disinfect your items

Clean and disinfect your keys, phone and any other items you took out with you as soon as you get home. Also, be conscious in public about not setting any of your items on public surfaces, counters or in a cart.

Clean your vehicle

Disinfect your steering wheel and gearshift with a wipe when you return home. You can also spray disinfectant on the car floor and seats. This way it will be germ free the next time you or another family member take it for a drive.

Be cautious with your clothing

Currently, the CDC is not recommending that you need to change your clothes right way after being out in public. However, taking this precaution is good for the general cleanliness of your home, especially if someone sneezed or coughed by you in public.

As an extra precaution, remove any clothes you wore outside of the house when you get home. Be sure to wash these clothes in warm water before wearing them again. Also, always remove your shoes right away and leave them by the door.

Stay updated on what Bon Secours is doing related to COVID-19.

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