If the COVID-19 crisis has taught us anything, it’s that it’s important to keep clean. Just look at the empty store shelves where Lysol, Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer used to be. And while keeping your home, workspace and valuables clean is vital, it’s good ol’ fashioned handwashing that has taken center stage through this pandemic (although, I’ve always been an avid fan).
The CDC, along with every expert, medical professional, parent, etc., has expressed that handwashing helps keep you safe and prevents the spread of germs and viruses like COVID-19. It’s easy and effective, as long as you’re doing it right. Let’s take a quick look at how to properly wash your hands in three easy steps:
- Turn water on and apply soap.
- Lather your hands with the soap, including the backs of your hands and in between your fingers. Do so for at least 20 seconds. If you need help timing, try singing “Happy Birthday!”
- Rinse your hands and dry with a clean paper towel or dryer.
Unfortunately, soap and water aren’t always readily available, especially on the jobsite. If that’s the case, then you should use a hand sanitizer made with at least 60 percent alcohol (if you can find it — seriously, send me a link for some to buy).
Stopping the Spread
As I mentioned, washing your hands with soap and water regularly has been the most stressed method to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19 (Remember: you could have the virus and not know or show any symptoms). Along with handwashing, you should also avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Other proper hygienic practices include using a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and wearing a mask if possible. It’s also important to stay home if you’re feeling sick and to let your supervisor know if someone at your home is sick with COVID-19. If you’re not sure what you’re feeling is COVID-19, check out the list of symptoms from the CDC below.
Symptoms that may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of the following:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Together, but Apart
In addition to frequent handwashing, social distancing and staying 6 feet apart from others has become the new norm in 2020. Head to any store and you’ll see stickers marking out the path for cautious shoppers or drive down your street and it’s easy to spot neighbors conversing with at least two sidewalk blocks between them. Why? Well because social distancing is another effective way to reduce the spread of germs and viruses, like COVID-19.
When it’s possible on the jobsite or in the office, you should stay 6 feet apart from your coworkers. Avoid hanging out in the hallways or common areas. Some other ways to maintain social distancing on the job include avoiding large gatherings or meetings and spacing out and sitting adjacent to coworkers on lunch breaks (rather than directly across from them). When possible, you should choose videoconferencing or teleconferencing for work-related meetings and gatherings. And if you have to meet in person, be sure to conduct the meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces.
If social distancing isn’t possible, be sure to wear proper PPE like masks (or whatever may be required by your company) and practice good personal hygiene (handwashing, not touching your face, etc.).