It’s going to take every single person to get through this pandemic

BY PAM BOGUE

Over the last few weeks there has been information provided about COVID-19 over television, radio, in the papers, on Facebook and every other media outlet imaginable. We, at Public Health, are hopeful that you are very familiar with what you need to do to keep yourself healthy and also those you love. Something as simple as washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds has become the major theme of personal hygiene. Use of hand sanitizer when you aren’t near soap and water, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, not touching your face and disinfecting surfaces and frequently used items as much as possible are other simple but effective ways of containing the coronavirus’s spread.

Social distancing has become a new “buzz word” and adds additional tasks to your prevention arsenal. Keep six feet between you and others, stay home if you are sick, avoid shopping trips or social visits, send one person to do essential shopping (don’t linger), assisting your elderly or immune compromised friends and family with their essential shopping can all make a big difference in the spread of this virus, avoid gathering in groups. Sounds like simple strategies? They are but they are still not enough to stop this “monster.”  The one additional item missing from this list might be YOU! We need EVERY person, no matter your age, to comply and follow these simple strategies.

We have seen a lot change over the last few weeks in our communities. We see signs posted reminding us to follow these principals. Businesses have made changes to improve the safety of their employees and customers. Many have changed their hours to allow for improved cleaning and access at special times for the elderly. Limits have been made on purchases to prevent hoarding allowing all citizens to have access to essential products. Customers can get curb pick-up from many restaurants.  But with all of the changes made it is still not enough! We have continued to see kids and adults gathering and not keeping the social distance recommended. We have heard of influential people in our community boasting about not following the guidance. We continue to see families traveling together to the grocery store. Monday, Governor Reynold closed additional locations that people tend to gather. Her message since Iowa received their first case on March 8 has been consistent. STAY HOME!  

In this digital and electronic age, we can find a lot of resources and ideas to keep the minds of our kids and ourselves engaged. Self-care during this stressful time is important as each of us attempts to adjust to the changes in our lives. 

Ask for help if you need it. 

Take breaks from the news, avoiding media focused on hype and getting the facts from trusted sources such as CDC or Iowa Department of Public Health or your local Public Health Department.

Take care of yourself by focusing on the basics. Eat healthy meals, get plenty of sleep, avoid alcohol and drugs, take deep breaths and exercise regularly. Remember to move throughout the day.

Create structure for your days. Maintain routines, such as morning rituals and activities you enjoy.

Make time to disconnect, wind down and rest.

Take reasonable steps to protect yourself, such as washing your hands often and disinfecting commonly used surfaces.

Connect with your community to stay grounded. Call a loved one. Have a meal with family or friends by video conference. Wave to your neighbors. Spend time with your pet.

Get out in nature while maintaining the social distancing principles.

We know it’s not easy to spend day after day in your home. We are used to being a very active and mobile society. We enjoy socializing with friends and family and hate to give that up. But just one person with COVID-19 can spread this virus to hundreds in less than a month. Don’t be that one person who causes the spread to worsen. 

“I’m sure you would rather miss seeing your friends and family for a few months than miss them for the rest of their lives because YOU shared COVID-19,” says Pam Bogue, Public Health administrator.

Pam Bogue, RNC, is the administrator for Buena Vista County Public Health & Home Care.

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