Are You Covid Confused? ...A Nurse In Your Pocket Series

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

Although, Covid-19 has been the deadliest new virus of this century, many are confused by the conflicting reports regarding how to properly protect yourself. The most important thing not to do is - nothing!!

I've seen too many defeated attitudes regarding this virus. I've heard too many people say that it's inevitable to catch...well, with that attitude, it definitely would be. Getting Covid-19 is definitely not a requirement. If you take the necessary precautions there is a good chance that you will not get it.

  1. Wear a face covering when outside of your home.

  2. Require that others wear a face covering before talking to you. Because your face covering protects whoever you are near, their face covering protects you.

  3. Wash hands regularly, especially when coming in contact with community surfaces (surfaces that other come into contact with, also)

  4. Be kind, but diligent about protecting yourself and your loved ones.

Covid - 19 is not a figment of your imagination. It is something that people should not be fearful of, but mindful of. I am a registered nurse who currently works with this population, and yes, it is real. I see it impact entire families, 30 year olds who can't walk, 40 year olds a hair away from a heart attack or stroke and ofcourse, people struggling to breath because of it...

I also see many, many people who are not taking precautions. They won't wear masks and if they do, many mask wearers allow others into their personal space without requiring them to wear a mask. Which means, if you are wearing a mask religiously, the moment you allow someone who is not wearing a mask to converse with you, you are at risk. If they have Covid-19, then you may have Covid-19. It is not difficult to say, "Hey, please put your mask on?". Is that conversation worth the risk of not asking?

A big mistake I see many making is that they will walk up to talk to someone while wearing a mask, but as soon as they open their mouths, they pull the mask beneath their chin. At this point, regardless of whether they have worn the mask continuously or not; it is now ineffective. Whenever I see someone wearing a mask, talking to someone who is not wearing a mask, I wonder if the person wearing the mask realizes they are not protected. Unless, you know the ins and outs of someone else's behaviors and habits, then you have no clue as to whether they may have come into contact with Covid-19 and possibly putting you at risk.

Please do not believe medical professionals are fool proof, Covid negative or positive. It simply depends on that particular individual and his or her behaviors. I see medical professionals put themselves at risk on a daily basis. They won't dare go near a known Covid + patient without the face shield, N95 mask, plastic gown, 2 sets of gloves on and paper scrubs - the whole gamut; but they will pull their masks off to sit within 2 feet of multiple co-workers who have all been in a taking care of Covid patients to eat. Or they will sit near multiple people who haven't been taking care of Covid patients, but they are known not to wear masks and have been exposed to may different people. One guy told me it's because he hates to eat alone. So, is the camaraderie worth the risk?

Some people wear a mask, yet pull it under their chin when they go to speak to a group. Believe , it or not, people can hear the spoken word very well through a mask. If you prefer to speak without a facial covering, simply ensure at least 6 feet of distance between you and the closest member of your audience. I've seen too many people go to speak, pulling the mask off their mouth and potentially infect 3-4 people who are 2-3 feet away.

In closing, it is not necessary to go to extremes to protect yourself and family from Covid-19. For example, someone told me once they would blow dry their nose hair because they thought it would protect them from Covid-19. That is extreme, unnecessary and possibly dangerous. However, some changes are necessary, such as those listed above. These rules apply to everyone, including kids. Kids can play and do all kinds of kid things, yet be safe in the process. Kids are affected in serious ways by this virus, also. Believe it or not, in a very short time, people get used to these protections, such as wearing masks and sanitizing hands. Once these changes are incorporated as a way of life they will be much easier to adhere to. Unfortunately, although getting Covid-19 is definitely not a requirement, it seems as if Covid-19 will be here for a while.

P.S. The reason I discuss general Covid -19 protection rules in this blog is, if the caregiver's aren't properly protected and risk getting sick, it would be nearly impossible to manage the care of their loved ones. Therefore, the safety of caregivers is vital. Don't worry, my next blog will thoroughly discuss ways to properly protect sick or debilitated loved ones during this time of crises....until next time:).

Kristal Glover-Wing, BSN-RN, Author - The Caregiver's Bible

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