13 Safety Precautions You Should Take Every Day to Prevent Coronavirus
Here are the simplest ways to stay healthy and protect yourself from COVID-19.
The more we learn about the COVID-19 pandemic, the more we discover new ways to protect ourselves. That's a good thing, but it can also be overwhelming. You might find yourself asking if you're taking all the necessary steps to prevent coronavirus. With that in mind, we've compiled some of the most straightforward, expert-backed safety precautions you can take to keep yourself as healthy as possible. Some of these might sound like old news at this point, but there are almost certainly others you haven't thought to add to your daily routine. So read on for 13 of the easiest professional-approved ways to protect yourself during such an important time. And for more vital information, here are 25 Coronavirus Facts You Should Know by Now.
Cleaning your jewelry
With all the things you're disinfecting around the house, are you taking the important safety precaution of disinfecting things on your person as well? That's right, you need to clean your jewelry. Everyday jewelry, such as engagement or wedding rings, are dirtier than you think. "Dirt, oil, and microorganisms can live and build up there and potentially spread infections," dermatologist Josh Zeichner, MD, says. Give them a good rinse with a jewelry cleaning solution or wipe every morning after you wake up or at night before you go to bed. And if you want to make sure you're disinfecting effectively, Here Are the Household Cleaners That Destroy the Coronavirus.
Disinfecting door knobs and electronics
Chances are you're probably spending more time than ever at home right now, so staying healthy means keeping your quarters in tip-top shape. How exactly? "Regularly disinfect frequently touched items like door knobs and [electronics]," Zeichner says. This includes the more unexpected things like your TV remote and more obvious objects like your cell phone and laptop. And for more advice on this vital precaution, learn the 7 Disinfecting Mistakes You're Probably Making and Tips to Fix Them.
Throwing away your tissues
If you sneeze, cough, or blow your nose, immediately dispose of your tissues. It's simple, but it goes a long way. Not only does this action keep your personal germs at bay so you don't spread them to others around you, but by not reusing tissues, you're also making sure that you don't expose your nose to any new germs.
Getting enough sleep
If you're feeling extra anxious right now, you might not realize that your sleep is suffering. Physician Sara Gottfried, MD encourages healthy sleep practices: around seven to eight-and-a-half hours for healthy adults. This means you might have to implement a bedtime. Use the function on your phone as a gentle reminder to wind down.
Because coronavirus is a respiratory illness, smokers are at a higher risk. If you occasionally smoke, it's best to avoid it. And if you're an everyday smoker, this might be the most important time to try to quit or seek help for quitting.
Taking vitamin supplements
Supplements aren't magical pills. But some experts believe that they could be beneficial, especially in times when you need a little bit of an immunity boost. "Consider supplements like vitamin C and D," Gottfried advises. "I like to keep vitamin D levels [around] 50 to 90 ng/mL."
Remembering your gut health
Your gut health can impact everything. "When the microbes in your body are in balance—i.e., when your microbiome is in homeostasis—you are far less likely to be sick," Gottfried says. To help boost your gut health, she recommends taking both prebiotics, such as human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), and probiotics. Kombucha, anyone?
Avoiding fast food
Having one French fry likely won't compromise your entire immune system, but Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of Eat for Life, warns that there's a larger problem at hand. "Fast food nutrition and the high consumption of empty calories create an army of immune-compromised individuals of all ages who have immune systems like 95-year-olds," he says. So for now, it might be best to avoid the quick-fix foods even if they're cheaper and easier to grab. And for more behaviors to avoid, discover 7 Bad Mistakes That Are Weakening Your Immune System.
Eating optimized foods
Right now, it's best to eat a diet full of nutrition-rich vegetables and fruits, complex proteins, and whole grains. "Eat cooked mushrooms and beans, one large green salad with raw onion or scallion, berries [and] seeds, such as flax, chia, or hemp seeds every day," Fuhrman suggests.
Washing your hands
From the first time we heard about COVID-19, we were told to wash our hands—and that still remains essential advice. As Zeichner explains, you don't need anything fancy. Just use plain old soap and water, and make sure to wash up thoroughly and for at least 20 seconds. "Think about the way you used to wash your hands in kindergarten," Zeichner says. "Lather soap in your hands as you sing the alphabet before rinsing off." And to make sure you're avoiding misinformation, be aware of these 21 Coronavirus Myths You Need to Stop Believing, According to Doctors.
Moisturizing to keep your skin barrier healthy
With all that hand washing, it's easy for your hands to feel like the Sahara Desert. To keep the skin barrier of your hands healthy, Zeichner suggests keeping up with a moisturizing routine. "Over-washing can lead to dryness, irritation, and cracks in the skin. This can lead to rashes and even put your hands at risk for skin infections," he says. And that's the last thing you want when you're already trying to prevent a virus.
Not touching your face
Surely you've heard this safety precaution, too, but it bears repeating. "Contaminated fingers can lead to spread of the infection," explains Zeichner. So avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose with dirty fingers. In theory, it sounds easy enough, but it's a lot harder than you think. If you find that you're constantly touching your face to adjust your hair, pull your hair back. And if you're a contact lens wearer, make sure to thoroughly clean your hands before touching your eyes.
Maintaining social distance
Again, you're probably already doing this, but we can't talk about safety precautions to prevent coronavirus without talking about the continued importance of social distancing. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminds, that means staying six feet away from other people. Keeping your distance from friends and loved ones might be one of the hardest things for many of us—but it's also one of the easiest ways to stay healthy.