One of the latest buzz words shared in articles within the last week and in relation to the coronavirus (COVID19) is Social Distancing. No, it does not mean staying away from Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms, but instead it’s a term given to categorize certain actions taken by public health officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease.
The rate of spread of any contagious disease is influenced by several factors, including how quickly infected people come into contact with non-infected people.
Social distancing is one way to reduce the rate of the spread of the infection throughout the population and therefore reduce new infections but more importantly, to avoid overwhelming the public health system.
As in the case of COVID19, a pandemic type influenza can be slowed down through the practicing of social distancing. Failing to implement this can lead to Government-enforced quarantines which may be more limiting on the society at large.
How can I engage in social distancing?
Essentially, it is avoiding or limiting interactions with other people.
- Stay home as much as practical, limit contact with people when outside the home, and avoid crowded spaces
- Avoid hugging or kissing or shaking hands when greeting people who do not live with you or who do but returned from outside the house and have yet to wash their hands
- Avoid gatherings where the space between people will be cramped e.g. less than 3 feet
- Avoid eating in restaurants, going to crowded bars, attending church services, commuting on public transportation during peak crowded hours
- Wash hands after being outside of the house and before touching places in your home
- Wash hand towels frequently or switch to disposable paper towels
- Clean your mobile phones regularly especially if it is shared with members of the household
- Try to avoid touching your face when outside of the home
- Teleconference as much as possible
- Use large meeting rooms for in-person meetings, sit more than 3 feet apart
- Don’t shake hands
- Avoid unnecessary travel
- Avoid socializing in small spaces where people will be closer than 3 feet
- Avoid eating in crowded lunch rooms or restaurants, bring your lunch to work
- Bring or use your own utensils
- If you use public transportation or shared computers, carry sanitizing wipes and clean the surface you will touch
- Use hand sanitizer after touching a shared surface e.g. photocopying machine, telephone or wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching a shared surface
- If you handle money or payments from customers, use a glove or hand sanitizer frequently and avoid touching your face