With the current health crisis spreading across the country, it’s understandable to be anxious, worried, and even a little apprehensive. Here at College Movers, we are encouraging people to postpone their move if they can. However, we also understand that not everyone can postpone their moves until after social distancing restrictions are lifted. Which is why I have put together this list of commonly asked questions about COVID-19 and healthy hygiene.
As a recent graduate with a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology, disease spread and prevention are two topics near and dear to my heart. I have been following this disease as it has unfolded and am doing my part to help educate and keep as many people safe as I can.
What is social distancing and why am I supposed to do it?
Social distancing means avoiding close contact with others in your community. The CDC defines “close” contact as within six feet of someone. When possible, work from home, take food to-go from restaurants, and limit the number of errands you take. Some trips away from home might be necessary, so while you’re there, follow simple guidelines.
1) Keep 6 feet of space between yourself and other shoppers.
2) Avoid touching your face.
3) Disinfect your shopping cart before and after you use it.
4) Most importantly, wash your hands once you get home!
I’m under a “Stay at Home Order”. What can and can’t I do?
Many counties and states have issued Stay at Home Orders over the last few weeks. This has closed non-essential businesses and facilities and has required people to stay home. Unless you are going outside to exercise, getting food or groceries, or attending a medically-related appointment, you are required to stay inside at your own home. If you go outside, you must limit your group size and maintain appropriate space between your group and other groups you encounter. The CDC recommends keeping your group to six people or less.
Staying at home does not mean inviting others over into your home or going to a friend’s house to watch a movie. This also does not mean inviting your kid’s friends to play together in the backyard. These orders require individuals to stay at their place of residence, self-isolating from their friends and neighbors. The specifics for each order can be found on your county or state public health department website. If you’re questioning whether or not it’s okay to leave your house, just stay home.
I keep hearing the phrase “Flatten the Curve”. What does this mean exactly?
COVID-19 is spreading throughout the United States with many cases not yet identified. As the number of cases continues to increase, so does the strain put on our healthcare providers and hospitals. At the current rate of infection and spread, our healthcare system cannot properly take care of every sick patient all at once. By limiting exposure to others, everyone can help decrease the spread and the number of cases occurring at once. By flattening the curve, you help ease the burden on our health care system. While the overall number of cases may or may not decrease, the number of cases occurring at once will diminsh. Healthcare providers can properly take care of the sick if not everyone is sick at once. This includes individuals who aren’t suffering from COVID-19, but also patients with strokes, heart attacks, cancer, or even people involved in car accidents.
The Mayo Clinic conducted a Q&A podcast interview with Dr. Clayton Cowl, chair of Mayo Clinic’s Division of Preventive, Occupational and Aerospace Medicine to help further explain how staying home can help decrease the spike in new coronavirus cases. This podcast can be found here.
I’m young and healthy, should I be worried about COVID-19?
While you might not catch COVID-19 or suffer many of the severe symptoms, you might still spread the disease! Any individual who has symptoms (seen or unseen) has the potential to spread the disease to someone else. There are many people in your community who are considered high-risk because of their age, overall health, or immune status. People aged 65+, people undergoing cancer treatments, people with recent organ transplants, and others with autoimmune diseases are more likely to catch COVID-19. In addition, they will also likely have more severe symptoms. You’re doing your part in keeping other members of your community safe by following the social distancing guidelines and staying home when possible and maintaining 6-feet between people in public areas.
Where are the best resources for information about COVID-19?
The CDC and WHO have the best and most up-to-date information about COVID-19. You can visit their websites by clicking on their links.
You can also visit your local health department for more specific information about COVID-19 activity in your area and if any local precautions have been put in place.
What should I do if I feel sick?
Stay home. You should not go to the store, work, or run errands as this increases the risk of exposing someone else. You should also try to distance yourself from other members of your household to prevent exposing them too.
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What can I do to help others stay safe?
Practice social distancing protocols, stay home if you’re feeling sick, and cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze. But most importantly, wash your hands! Washing your hands with soap and water not only helps keep you safe and healthy but also helps you prevent the spreading of unwanted germs.
How often should I be washing my hands?
You should wash your hands after using the bathroom, touching your face, or coughing or sneezing. Additionally, you should be washing your hands before and after eating, and after touching objects that have potentially been exposed to other people. When washing your hands, try to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Which is about the amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. Washing with soap and water is always the best option, but if these aren’t available, using a sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content will suffice.
How can I keep myself healthy and safe?
Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose as these are the easiest way for the virus to enter your body. Clean your hands often. Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces. Practice other healthy hygiene habits such as getting sufficient amounts of sleep, exercise, spending time outdoors, and drinking plenty of water.
COVID-19: Myths & Facts
There are many resources and websites with information claiming to be hopeful about the novel coronavirus. Instead of inundating yourself with information, I try to find reliable resources that help summarize information into bite-sized chunks.
This page compiled by John’s Hopkins Hospital does a good job of summarizing the main myths and facts floating around the internet. If you’re interested in learning what’s truthful and what’s not, I highly recommend pursuing this page!
What can I do to help?
Right now, hospitals and health care providers are running low on personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks, face shields, and gloves. If you or know anyone who has extra of these supplies lying around, you can bring them to your local hospital and donate them.
DIY Face Masks
If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can also make your own fabric masks. Making your own masks for personal use, frees up the demand of hospitals and healthcare providers. Unlike typical fabric maks, you can wash, sanitize, and reuse fabric masks. Many hospitals are also accepting donations of DIY face masks. Follow this link for two tutorial videos.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, donation centers have been canceling blood drives around the country to help prevent the spread of the disease. As a result, the blood bank supply is slowly dwindling and donors are desperately needed. You can find your closest blood bank donation center by using this link that directs you directly to the American Red Cross website.
Soooo, can I move right now?
Yes! You can still move, and moving companies are still operational. In most states including Iowa, North Carolina and Massachusetts, moving is an essential service. However, this does not mean that everyone should be moving right now. If you can postpone your move, I highly encourage you to do so. Some companies, like College Movers, allow you to book your move on a tentative date without a deposit, and if you need to change your move date you can do so at no additional charge.
Kenni Sterns earned her bachelor’s from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA. She studied biology, neuroscience, and history while swimming on the college’s swim team. She graduated and went on to get her Masters in Public Health.
She is currently working on getting her BSN to become a traveling nurse. She works remotely for College Movers as the Head of Health and Safety and is a full-time dog mom to her German Shepherd, Maya.