Why is social distancing such a hot topic right now? Experts claim it’s the only way we can slow the spread of COVID-19 and not overrun the medical system. We’ve been told to follow the 6-foot rule and wear a mask in public, but these measures won’t matter if you’re making other simple mistakes. Experts warn you may have a higher risk of catching coronavirus if you’re falling victim to any of the following social distancing mistakes.
1. Playdates Are Still a Thing
Dimitar Marinov, MD, Ph.D., warns, “Some parents let their children go out and play with others because ‘only elderly are at risk’. In reality, children have the same risk of getting infected. However, they are much more often asymptomatic. They can still spread the infection, which puts everyone else at risk, and especially their grandparents if they live together or get in close contact.” Finding ways your children can interact with friends virtually is a much safer option.
2. You Don’t Think You’ll Catch It
Thinking you’re immune to the virus isn’t going to work. Unfortunately, anyone can contract coronavirus because currently there is no vaccine. Physician Dimitar Marinov, MD, claims, “Young people think that social distancing is just for the elderly, and they can’t have severe symptoms. In reality, around 40% of the patients that required hospitalization were between 20 and 54 years old, according to the CDC.”
3. You’re Heading to the Local Park
Psychiatrist Jared Heathman says, “While it may not seem obvious, social distancing includes avoiding areas in which others have recently touched or been. People should avoid playgrounds even if no one else is there, because the virus may live on inanimate objects for days.” It’s important to know that the virus can stay alive on surfaces for up to five days after contamination.
4. You’re Exercising Too Close To Others
Exercise is a great way to spend time right now and stay healthy; however, it needs to be done safely. Heathman says, “People should not walk or exercise behind other people. The wind may blow the virus backward, and you can become exposed that way, despite being more than 10 feet behind someone else.”
5. You’re Wearing Your Mask Wrong
It is recommended by the CDC to cover your face with a mask in public. “People don’t wear a mask and, when they do, they don’t take it off correctly. It’s a mistake to take off their mask from the front and then touch the ‘contaminated’ area.” says Dr. Greg Jacobson, MD. He recommends in order to remove a mask safely, “Wash your hands (with soap and hot water for 20 seconds), remove the mask from loops, and put it in a safe place and then wash your hands again.”Related: Made at Home Face Mask- No Sewing Machine Needed!
6. You’re Not Staying 6 Feet Apart
“It all comes down to following the guidelines: six feet apart from another individual,” says New York physician Anthony Jones, MD. For example, he says you should avoid, “sitting next to each other while eating lunch at work.”
What’s the reasoning behind the 6-foot rule? Physician Omiete Charles-Davies asserts, “Droplets that contain the virus can still land on your clothing, phone or other personal items if you come too close to an infected person.”
7. You’re Shopping Too Frequently
The days of running to the store for one item are over, as it’s important to reduce the number of times you’re in public. Jacobson says, “People don’t make a list, so they have to go back to the store too often.” Creating a list and overall meal plan will help you make fewer trips.
8. Your Eyes Are Exposed
Your eyes are just as susceptible to the virus as your mouth. Jacobson argues, ”People really should wear eye protection as well, if they are heading into a grocery store. Wear some glasses to remind yourself to not rub your eyes.”Related: Coronavirus Grocery Shopping Tips
9. You’re Not Wearing Gloves Correctly
Gloves are just as likely as hands to carrying the coronavirus. Dr. Mike DeCubellis, who practices chiropractic care in Illinois, says, “Gloves do not resist the virus. And when your gloves have touched store shelves, shipped boxes, and your car, then your face or your food, you just potentially contaminated yourself with your gloves!” After being in public, the best practice is to discard used gloves prior to returning to your vehicle or home.
10. You’re Inviting People into Your Home
Allowing people into your home is like hosting a party with every person they’ve come into contact with. Leann Poston, MD, a physician at Invigor Medical, says, “Viruses need to move from person to person to stay alive. Social distancing makes it difficult for viruses to move, thus the saying if you don’t move, then neither can the virus.”Related: COVID19 & Gloves You May Not Be Using Them Properly