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How to Limit the Spread of Germs

How to Limit the Spread of Germs

It goes without saying that COVID-19 is top-of-mind for nearly everyone in the world right now. Most people have embraced social distancing as the primary way to slow the spread of the virus and flatten the curve. However, it is still possible that you might find yourself in a crowded public area in the near future – perhaps the grocery store or the bank. So how can you protect yourself? Consider these suggestions:

Practice Social Distancing

Social distancing is the practice of deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. As you know, the CDC recommends staying at least six feet away from other people when outside of the home – this is particularly important when in a crowded public area.

Wash Your Hands Properly and Often

You hear this advice 37 times every day, but it’s important enough that we’re going to make it 38. Wash your hands. A lot.

Most importantly, do it the right way:

  • Wet your hands with clean water. Turn off the tap before you use soap.
  • Lather your hands with soap, taking the time to generate suds between your fingers, the backs of your hands, and underneath your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse your hands under clean running water to remove the dirt and germs.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air-dry them. The CDC says that germs can be transferred more easily to and from wet hands.

Use an Alcohol-based Hand Sanitizer When Soap and Water Aren’t Available

Using soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. However, if soap and water are not readily available, the CDC says you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizers without at least 60% alcohol may not work equally well for many types of germs. Moreover, they merely reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them outright.

Do Not Touch Your Face

The coronavirus enters the body through portals like the nose, mouth, and eyes. It is critical that you avoid touching your face. Easier said than done, right? Consider these tips:

  1. Start by being mindful of how much you touch your face.
  2. Replace face-touching with another behavior or reaction. Does your nose itch? Try to rub it with your shoulder rather than scratching it with your fingers.
  3. Find practical workarounds for your various triggers. If you’re constantly adjusting your glasses, try wearing contacts instead. Pull your hair back if you’re always pushing it out of your face.

Use Face Masks Only in Certain Circumstances

Many people have added surgical masks or N95 respirators to their emergency kits, but the CDC and the WHO have been adamant that these types of tools aren’t necessary for healthy people to prevent getting sick with the coronavirus. The only people who actually need to use this type of protection right now are those who are sick and those who are taking care of sick people.

See Ogden Clinic’s COVID-19 FAQ page for more information about the coronavirus.