Sneezes, coughs, and handshakes aren’t the only way to spread illness-causing germs. Viruses and bacteria can linger around your home. Target these high-touch spots to cut back on the spread of germs year-round, and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One study found that 81 percent of mobile phones played host to infection-causing microbes. This isn’t surprising, considering how often a smartphone comes into contact with its user’s hands, ears, mouth, face, and hands. Clean yours frequently with disinfecting wipes. If your device can’t withstand the use of liquids, another option for day-to-day cleaning is to purchase a UV light designed to sanitize smartphones.
Doorknobs and Light Switches
Given how frequently they’re touched, it’s no wonder handles and knobs pose a risk. Disinfect them following CDC guidelines, using a diluted household bleach solution comprised of 5 tablespoons bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons per quart of water. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure that the product is not past its expiration date—expired household bleach can be ineffective when properly diluted.
Wash acrylic, plastic, glass, and wood boards in the dishwasher. Replace worn or cracked cutting boards since bacteria can grow in the crevices.
Germs can linger on hard plastic toys. Wipe or dunk the toy in a diluted bleach solution using the proportions above, then let it stand for three to five minutes before rinsing with clean water.
In a study, more than eight in 10 homes had moderate to heavy bacterial growth on kitchen rags. Machine-wash rags often using the hot cycle and replace sponges frequently.
In the same study, half of kitchen taps harbored disease-causing germs. Wash your sinks frequently with hot, soapy water.
Pillowcases and Sheets
Bedding can conceal germs such as those that cause conjunctivitis (pink eye). Wash pillowcases and sheets regularly in hot water and detergent.
Wash your hands frequently to prevent getting germs on your mouse, then wipe the mouse down with antiseptic pads.
No matter who you are or where you live, one topic is dominating all conversations: The coronavirus. In this ever-changing world filled with more questions than answers, here’s what experts know for certain.
Fact #1: No one is immune
The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. The respiratory illness has spread around the globe—reaching the U.S. and more than 100 other countries. Anyone can get sick regardless of their race or ethnicity.
Fact #2: It’s possible to have the coronavirus and not know it
Feeling like your typical, healthy self doesn’t necessarily mean you are virus-free. Some people who test positive for COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms at all. And even for those who do develop symptoms, it can take up to 14 days for the warning signs to appear.
Patients with COVID-19 report a variety of symptoms ranging from mild to severe, including fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing. In certain cases, the coronavirus can cause pneumonia and other deadly complications.
Fact #3: You don’t need to wear a face mask for protection
According to the CDC, you should only wear a mask if you have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. The one exception to this rule is if your health care provider specifically recommends that you use face masks. Otherwise, don’t stress about purchasing or wearing them.
Fact #4: You can help stop COVID-19
To prevent surface transmission (getting COVID-19 by touching an object with the virus on it and then touching your face):
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water; scrub for at least 20 seconds (You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if handwashing isn’t an option)
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
Clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched often (doorknobs, light switches, remotes, etc.)
To minimize person-to-person spread (getting COVID-19 through the droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes):
Stay home when you are sick
Keep away from people who are sick
When going out in public, maintain at least 6 feet of space between yourself and others
Avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people
By following these simple prevention steps, you can help keep yourself and your community safe. Visit the CDC’s website for daily updates on COVID-19.
With all the information swirling around about coronavirus, it’s important to understand the facts. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a virus that causes respiratory illness. It was first found in people in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, and has now been detected in more than 100 locations around the world, including the United States. The latest information can be found atwww.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov.
What Are the Symptoms?
There are actually many types of coronavirus. Most people experience these viruses at some point in their lives. Common coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate respiratory illnesses, such as the common cold.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can appear up to 14 days after contact with the virus and may include fever, coughing, and trouble breathing. Some people have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. However, COVID-19 can cause severe illness such as pneumonia, leading to death in some cases.
Am I At Risk?
If you’ve been to a place where people have been sick with this virus, you are at risk for infection. Call your health care provider if you’ve been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 and you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. Call, too, if you have these symptoms and you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.
There is currently no specific medicine to treat COVID-19. Supportive treatment of severe cases may require treatment with IV fluids and oxygen.
Preventing Respiratory Illnesses
COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, between people who are within about six feet from each other, through droplets of fluid that a person coughs or sneezes into the air. It may be possible to get the virus if you touch a surface or object with the virus on it and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
The best prevention is to not have contact with COVID-19. Follow these steps, which will also help protect you from colds and flu:
Wash your hands often. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Don’t have close contact with people who are sick.
Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from COVID-19, unless your health care provider recommends it. People who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms should wear a mask to protect others from infection.
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. This infographic outlines the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, risk factors and methods for prevention. To learn the latest, visit the CDC Coronavirus page.
Don’t let the closure of your go-to fitness center spoil a healthy exercise routine. Here are a few creative tips to help bring your exercises indoors.
Indoor aerobic activities
Aerobic exercise helps your heart and lungs and offers proven stress reduction benefits. Do moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for at least 150 minutes every week—30 minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember. Here are some ways to do aerobic activity inside:
Follow along with an exercise DVD or online video
Dance to upbeat music
Go up and down the stairs
Speed up your vacuuming, bathroom cleaning, and kitchen cleaning
Strengthen your routine
Strength training helps your bones and muscles. Do strength-training exercises at least two days per week. You can bring strength training indoors, too:
Begin with soup cans or light dumbbells, lifting eight to 12 times in a row (When you can do more than 12 reps, move up to a slightly heavier weight)
Do push-ups or pull-ups
Try pulling on resistance bands
Don’t forget to stretch
Stretching keeps your muscles flexible and helps prevent injuries. Stretch after you do your regularly scheduled strength and aerobic activities. Here’s how to do it inside:
Learn yoga or tai chi from a video, book, or class
Lift your arms toward the ceiling and stretch (You can find other stretches online)
Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat every stretch three to five times
Never miss a chance to move. For example, you can lift hand weights, march in place, dance, or stretch while watching TV. But don’t work the same muscles two days in a row so they have ample time to recover.
As working from home has suddenly become the new norm for many employees across the globe, people everywhere have pivoted to define what work-life balance looks like in a time where stress is at an all-time high.
On the physical side, this stress can lead to headaches, back pain, muscle aches, and stomach trouble. Mentally, stress leads to low morale, poor sleep and concentration, and depression. It can also take a toll on our immune systems—at a time when we all need to be focused on strengthening our health and well-being.
It’s important to find a balance between work and home responsibilities. Here are tips that can help:
Try to stay positive and relaxed
The more stress you feel, the worse your mood and the harder it will be to get things done. Focus your energy on completing one task at a time—whether it be work or family-related—rather than worrying about how to do all of them at once.
Prioritize your to-do’s
Create a to-do list and a schedule of tasks you need to complete, with the most important ones at the top. Budget time for each of those items, and stick to your schedule as closely as you can.
When you feel overwhelmed, take some time to relax. Try to breathe deeply with your eyes closed, concentrating on your breathing. Or do some yoga or gentle stretches. Relax your muscles by starting with your toes and slowly relaxing each muscle in your body as you work your way up to your head.
When your to-do list is already full, say no to more projects at work and home if you can. Find out your boss’ top priorities and work on those, but be careful not to promise more than you can deliver. Make it clear that if you work on project “X,” you may have to push back the deadline on project “Y.”
Share the load
Don’t be afraid to ask your coworkers or family members for help. Have your spouse or older kids pitch in around the house and cook meals, do some cleaning, and take care of a few loads of laundry. Even younger kids may be old enough to dust or set the table. It’s much less stressful if you’re working as a team.
Leave perfection at the door
Don’t try to be perfect. We’re in a time when competing priorities means that perfection may not be attainable. If you have a less than clean house because you’re also homeschooling your children or caring for an elderly family member, so be it. Allow yourself room for imperfections.
Do you best to stay healthy
To do your best at work and at home, you’ve got to take care of yourself. Eat regularly and stick to nutritious foods, and do your best not to “stress eat.” The gym may be closed, but you can take walks and build in exercise breaks at home to manage stress and enjoy a little time for yourself. And be sure to get plenty of sleep each night—it’s one of the best ways to give your immune system the support it needs.
Demonstrate compassion for coworkers
If you can help someone manage their competing priorities, offer to help. Can you record a meeting or take notes if they can’t attend? Can you offer to take their place at a meeting? Can you offer them early morning or evening hours for calls while children are asleep? Have you simply asked them how they’re doing?
Take time for yourself
A few quiet minutes to yourself each day can recharge your batteries and help with your resilience. You’ll be a better employee and a better family member by doing this.