7 Easy Ways to Support Health Care Workers During COVID-19
Here's exactly what medical workers need—and how to get it to them safely.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare workers are spending long hours on the frontlines, risking their lives to save others. However, with a lack of proper safety gear, little time at home, and the inherent risks associated with treating patients that are sick, one of the world's toughest jobs has somehow become even harder. So, if you want to show them your support, here's what healthcare workers need right now—and how you can help.
Make and donate masks.
Healthcare workers are running out of necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), with masks among the most needed pieces of gear, according to GetUsPPE.org. If you have fabric and a sewing machine at your disposal, you can make face masks and locate hospitals in need through Find The Masks.com.
Similarly, if you're employed in a field in which you usually use N95 respirators and aren't currently working, many hospitals will accept your surplus supplies. And if you want to protect yourself and others, discover The 7 Best Materials for Making Your Own Face Mask, Backed by Science.
Provide cleaning supplies.
Have a stockpile of cleaning supplies at home? Many hospitals, including the Henry Ford Health System, Holy Cross Health, and Rochester Regional Health are accepting donations of cleaning and disinfecting products to help keep their workers safe.
Another great option, especially if you're a teacher with extra disinfecting wipes, is From Our Classrooms to Our Nurses, a grassroots program that helps provide necessary supplies to medical workers. For advice on how to keep your own space clean, brush up on these 15 Expert Tips for Disinfecting Your House for Coronavirus.
Give them your extra gloves.
Check with your local hospitals to see if they're accepting donations and need nitrile gloves. And if you have more than 50 pairs, you can contact Get Us PPE and sign up to donate to your local hospital.
Offer them a place to sleep.
If you're quarantining with a loved one and suddenly have an empty apartment or home—or if you have a vacation house, RV, or trailer you're not occupying—put it to good use by letting a medical worker stay there. Don't know any healthcare workers personally? Programs like Travel Nurse Housing and AirBnB can help you connect with healthcare workers in need of a place to stay.
Send them food.
With long shifts at work inevitable for the foreseeable future, many healthcare workers don't have much spare time to prepare meals for themselves these days. While you can always offer to prepare or send meals to hospital workers you know personally, if you want to help out a larger effort, you can contact organizations like Feeding the Frontline or Off Their Plate.
Donate blood or plasma.
Blood donations across the country have been drastically reduced, leading to a serious shortage, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If you want to help those in need—hospital workers included—you can sign up with the American Red Cross to donate blood, or, if you've recovered from COVID-19, you can donate plasma to help those currently affected by the virus.
The most important thing you can do to support healthcare workers? Stay home. Major hotspots, like New York, are already seeing reductions in COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths since the shutdown was implemented. With further social distancing, those numbers—and the pressure on the healthcare system—will likely drop further, so whenever possible, stay in.
If you've been diagnosed, tracking your illness is also a major help. "By using the free COVID Symptom Tracker app, everyone can help healthcare workers across the U.S. understand what type of symptoms to look out for as well as where the next COVID-19 hotspot may be so valuable—and often limited—resources can be appropriately allocated," explains Andrew T. Chan, MD, at Massachusetts General Hospital. And if you want to preserve your well-being, check out these 23 Easy Ways You Can Be a Healthier Person During Quarantine.