Hygiene and Basic Precautions

When it comes to the new things we’ve had to go through during quarantine: face masks, extra attention to washing hands. It’s not a bad thing to ask the question “What am I doing to help?” or “Is all this stuff I’m doing now worth it?” These are all questions that are easily answered.

How does washing my hands help? Why do I have to do it if I’m already quarantining?

Washing hands is the most underappreciated and easiest way to stop yourself and other people from getting sick. Think about it, you do everything with your hands, they’re a vital sense in your body. You also touch a lot of things: computers, utensils, tables, doors, toilets, the list goes on. More importantly, you touch a lot of your own body; you rub your eyes, scratch your nose, wipe your mouth. These are all ways for the germs that you’ve accumulated in your hands from all that touching to make their way into your body. One of those things, especially if you’ve had some form of outside contact- could be covid. So washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water is extremely important for killing germs, and even more importantly, stopping you from spreading it to other people. And yes, while you may be quarantining all alone, with no one to touch, you’ll have to have some sort of outside contact eventually (unless you live in a supermarket or something) and through that those outside germs will transfer from your hands onto your face or into your body. And among the other germs and infections you don’t want, you definitely don’t want to run into covid. 

Do I have to wear a mask? Can I stop now that vaccines are out?

Yes to the first question, and no to the second. We know covid can be spread through close personal contact like coughing or sneezing as well as things like hand shaking. Masks are made to capture the spit droplets that come out of your mouth when you’re talking and all the stuff coming out of your nose when you sneeze. There are a few masks to be aware of:

Cloth masks: Catches droplets when you talk or sneeze, also prevents inhaling said droplets.

Medical masks: Protects you from mouth and nose spray, filters large particles in the air when you inhale, make sure it’s worn form-fitting to your face, loose masks aren’t as effective. This can be done by knotting the ear loops and adjusting the white wire on the top to the contours of your face.

N95 masks: More of a respirator then a mask. Filters large and small particles. Reserved for healthcare workers because they are in short supply. Make sure to remember that as a respirator, they filter the air coming in, not so much the air you breathe out.

All of these masks are effective and good to use when outside. I personally prefer the medical masks as they are cheap, disposable, and very effective. But your mask choice is up to you, so long as you’re wearing a mask, and wearing it properly, you’re doing good. 

And yeah, you still have to wear a mask even though vaccines are coming out and you may even be vaccinated. Not everyone is vaccinated and it’s hard to test if you’re asymptomatic, so it’s best if that stays on. For more detailed information, see the writing I have on what we should be doing now that vaccines are coming out.

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