Keeping Your Family Safe During The Next Few Months
Whenever dangerous diseases such as COVID-19 start spreading, public health officials, state governors, city mayors, and everyday Americans alike prepare and adjust to minimize the damage in any way they can. Even if you are not a doctor or a city mayor, you can do your part to keep your family and community safe, and many of the necessary steps are not expensive or even a real hassle to take. Americans from coast to coast are urged to keep their communities safe, and some states, such as Oregon and California, are already seeing cases of COVID-19 and are taking the furthest steps of all to contain the illness. Now, what are some of these tips and steps for keeping viruses at bay?
Stay in Contact With Healthcare Professionals
This is perhaps the most obvious step to take, but that’s no reason to take it for granted. Be sure to stay current on all vaccines no matter what, and your family should already have a family physician whom you can consult for regular checkups. If you do not have a family doctor, be sure to look online and find one who can suit your needs, and this means getting a list of local doctors and narrowing down the list based on patient reviews, location, and insurance policies that various doctors accept. The elderly and small children in your family in particular need to be looked after. After all, the first COVID-19 fatality in Oregon (to name one example) was a man in his early 70s. Many other patients are also senior citizens.
Currently, no vaccine for COVID-19 in particular exists, but you can and should keep your family’s inoculation against other diseases current all the same. Also, if you believe that you or a family member are infected with something highly communicable, try telemedicine, a young but popular and rapidly-growing field. This means finding doctors on Skype and similar video chat apps, where you can show the doctor your symptoms and talk to them. The doctor can access your medical records via Cloud data storage, too.
Finally, don’t forget urgent care centers, which are quite common across the United States and are often found in strip malls, and sometimes in retailers and hospitals too. Be sure to check for their signs if you’re on the hunt for one; signs are a great way to find just about anything. It is believed, for example, that 17% of Best Buy’s walk-in customers visited because they saw that store’s signs with their own eyes.
Avoid Making Major Purchases
What does this have to do with COVID-19 or other virulent outbreaks? More than it may seem at first. Preparing for a virus outbreak means altering your lifestyle and making certain purchases for safety’s sake, and that means cutting back on spending in other areas. Bear in mind that many Americans are choosing to stay in their residences as much as possible, and many are missing work, too. If this happens to you, then this may reduce your income, and of course, your spending must adjust as well, as it would for any other financially lean time.
Some major expenses should be put on hold, even if you have been planning them for months or years or if you were looking forward to them, such as buying a new house or a condo or even a car or boat. Think about this: in Manhattan, the average price for a condo in an existing building clocked in at $1.9 million in 2017’s third quarter. Imagine someone who signed a mortgage for that and started making payments on it, just as COVID-19 came along and forced them to stay at home for work. Even if you are not buying pricey real estate in New York City or San Francisco or Chicago, it is best to minimize your spending and put those big projects on hold. Besides, many other people may do the same, and it is not as though everyone else will buy these things and leave you behind.
And it’s not just the big projects that may be put on hold. Consider all your other extraneous spending and see if you can cut back for the short term, such as going out to eat at restaurants or buying sports equipment or taking a trip to Miami or San Diego. You might be surprised to see how many unnecessary purchases you are making, once you put it in terms of “I have to stay at home from work.” Better yet, draw up a budget and list all the things that you normally purchase or make payments for in a typical month, and this will make it clear which steps you should take. For some people, they may have to slash a lot of spending, such as multiple data-streaming services or club memberships of some sort or other. Make sure that you’re not losing money each month, or at least, slow the loss way down. The numbers won’t lie; put them to paper, and see what they say.
Stick to a Productive and Healthy Schedule
Whether you are in a self-imposed quarantine at home, or if you are still going out and about, it is a good idea to budget your time as well. If you plan to minimize time spent outside and want to keep clean, let a clearly-defined schedule help you. Time-tracking is hardly a new concept, either; the ancient Egyptians used obelisks as sundials, and in 14th century Europe, mechanical clocks made their debut. Now, with paper calendars and smartphone apps and digital clocks on every device, it is easy for you to manage your time even during weeks of unrest and unease due to diseases like COVID-19.
Suppose you are staying indoors. This is a fine time to perform some spring cleaning and reorganize your household, or balance your checkbook and catch up with all kinds of chores that you have been neglecting. Set up a schedule for yourself to do this efficiently, and make sure you’re not spending too much time idling or being busy just for the sake of it. After all, being “busy” and being productive are not always the same thing. It is nice to keep your hands full to take your mind off things, but you may as well check off items on a to-do list while you are at it. A smartly kept schedule can keep everything balanced, and you won’t ever find yourself idle or rushed.
This is perhaps the most important step of all, aside from limiting exposure to other people and avoiding social gatherings. What does proper sanitation look like? For example, you can and should bathe or shower daily, and don’t forget to wash your hands whenever you touch a dirty surface or blow your nose, sneeze, or cough. This is sound advice in any case, but in the face of COVID-19, it is particularly relevant. While you are spending more time at home, you can get to work wiping down just about anything, such as countertops, any unwashed dishes, computer mice and keyboards, stairway guard rails, doorknobs, and even the glass on windows and doors. What is more, you can contact HVAC professionals to look over the air ducts in your house and have dirty ducts cleaned out, such as removing dust, pollen, and animal hairs. Many air ducts in houses or offices are dirty and spread germs and VOCs anyway, and during a virulent outbreak, this is especially important. Don’t let the air conditioner work against you.
Meanwhile, you can also clean up your carpet, which may be dirtier than it looks (the same goes for your rugs). With all their fibers, carpets and rugs can soak up a lot of dirt, dust, pollen, germs, and spilled food, which causes them to emit VOCs and other particles. Using a vacuum on all carpets and rugs routinely is a great start, but you can do more: use a carpet cleaner, whose shampoo and water will clean the carpet even more thoroughly. You may be surprised at how much more dirt is removed this way, and this will make the carpets smell nice, too. If you are too busy or can’t get your hands on a carpet cleaner, consider hiring a maid service.
It is never fun to try and live everyday life during a public health crisis, but anyone who is smart and prepared can make the most of it, to say safe and minimize the impact on their health, finances, and happiness. You, too, can weather the storm with tips like these, and more.