5 Surprising Things That Slash Your Coronavirus Risk

You'd never guess that these things reduce your chances of getting sick.

Every day, researchers learn new things about the novel coronavirus that shed light on how we can fight against it. While we all know that social distancing, obsessive hand washing, and mask wearing can work wonders to flatten the curve, these more recent findings on things that lower our risk are much less obvious, and in some cases just as impactful.

As we move to reopen cities across the country and head into a possible second wave of the virus, we're going to need all the insights we can get to stay safe. These five surprising things can cut your risk of getting coronavirus significantly, which is good news for you and all the people you won't pass it on to. And to get up to speed on public health rules, find out why the WHO Just Completely Changed Its Coronavirus Face Mask Guidelines.

Having proper ventilation at home

brunette woman opening white window

According to a recent study published in Environment International, having proper ventilation indoors can make all the difference when it comes to avoiding the transmission of coronavirus. Interiors that utilize particle filtration and air disinfection devices have a much lower risk of airborne infection, but even simple fixes like keeping your windows open for better air flow can have a positive effect. And for more tips on keeping your home safe, check out The One Home Design Mistake That's Making Your Home More Dangerous.

Wearing eye protection

man with mask at opthamologist

We all know that donning face masks to cover our mouths and noses can have a significant impact on our safety from the novel coronavirus, but a lesser known fact is that protecting your eyes is also crucial in the fight against transmission.

While PPE face shields give optimal protection, the American Academy of Ophthalmology shares that corrective lenses or sunglasses can provide benefits as well. Though they caution that finer particles can travel around the tops and sides of these lenses, wearing glasses can still provide a line of defense from sneezes and coughs, cutting down on your overall risk of infection.

Taking your shoes off before going inside

pile of shoes

If you're not already in the habit, now is a good time to start taking your shoes off at the front door. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shared a recent study that tested the soles of shoes from ICU workers, and determined that over half of them had traces of the virus in their swabbed samples.

While your typical civilian that doesn't spend their day in a hospital setting is far less likely to carry the virus on their shoes, it just goes to show that transmission is possible if you step in spit, gum, or droplets from a sneeze. And when you're ready to target all of your high risk habits, be sure to check out these 15 Seemingly innocuous Habits That Increase Coronavirus Risk.

Having had a cold

woman with cold blowing her nose

Good news if you've recently recovered from a cold: that week spent sneezing and sniffling could actually provide you with protection from coronavirus. A recent study published in the journal Cell found that spikes in T cells which are often present after a patient has recovered from the common cold (another type of coronavirus) may promote "cross-reactive" antiviral immunity from COVID-19. You may not be able to control whether you've recently had a cold, but it's certainly a silver lining if you have.

Living alone, or wearing a mask at home

woman wearing mask with dog at home

Though living alone can be especially difficult during these isolating times, rest assured: there's a serious silver lining to living solo right now. One study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, found that nearly 80 percent of coronavirus cases stemmed from within the household—meaning that living alone slashes your overall risk of infection. If you do live with family or roommates, wearing a mask in your home can also work wonders to keep you safe and your loved ones safe.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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