You’re staying home. You’re washing your hands for 20 seconds at a time. You’re social distancing. But you’ve still got to function in the world, which means you’re still at risk for catching the coronavirus, aka Covid-19. Here are 25 things that put you at risk, by Dr. Monika Stuczen, a medical microbiologist who knows her stuff. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus
You Think It Might Not Happen to You
If you don’t follow advice from the CDC or your local government and you think that the coronavirus won’t affect you and your family, you put yourself and other people at risk. This virus can affect everyone. It is new and your body doesn’t have any protection (antibodies) against it. You never know how you will react to it. You may be asymptomatic (show no symptoms but be able to spread it), you may only have mild symptoms or develop severe pneumonia. You might have it right now.
You’re Staying in Close Contact
….with an infected person or people showing flu-like symptoms. Of course you want to “be there” for your loved ones. But it’s in their best interest, and yours, if they are quarantined.
You’re Having Underlying Conditions
….such as cardiovascular and respiratory disease, asthma, immunological disorders, diabetes, cancer. These aren’t mistakes, per se, but ignoring social distancing would be a mistake, as you’ll be more susceptible to the coronavirus.
You’re Ignoring Your Age
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) reported a death rate of 14.8 percent for patients over 80 years old and 8 percent for patients in their 70s. It decreased to 3.6 percent for people in their 60s and 1.3 percent for the 50-59 age group. The death rate for everyone under the age of 49 was below 0.5 percent—so clearly, age is one of the most major factors to consider.
You’re Ignoring Your Gender
According to Chinese stats, the fatality for men was at 2.8 percent higher in comparison to 1.7 percent for women. It is not clear why men are more susceptible and there are many theories related to lifestyle, i.e. smoking and drinking. The fact that men are also more likely to have high-risk pre-existing conditions might also be a factor.
You’re Visiting Crowded Places
…like supermarkets, public transport, restaurants, pubs. Make sure these places are enforcing social distancing rules properly. Wash your hands after entering, or use hand sanitizer if a sink is not available. Wear rubber gloves if you can. And don’t touch your face. And never, ever go to bars.
You’re Touching Things
…public transportation handrails, doorknobs, switches, toilet flushes. Again, wash your hands and don’t touch your face. The CDC has clarified that they are not sure how badly the virus is transmitted on surfaces.
…with other people. Try the Vulcan salute or a wave instead.
You’re Still Using Gym Equipment
There’s a reason many gyms are closed: Many people touch gym equipment every day and viruses can survive on the surface for many hours.
You’re Using Cosmetic and Personal Care Products
Testers in shops can spread the virus; remember what I said about touching your face?
You’re Touching Screens
ATM machines, debit and credit cards—hundreds of people touch them every day, and you don’t know where they’ve been.
You’re Having a Poor Diet
This affects your immune system. The way how your body will respond to Covid-19 depends on the strength of your immune system. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins C and E, plus beta-carotene and zinc
You’re Relying on Not Credible Sources
Are you constantly scanning Facebook or Instagram to obtain advice or news regarding Covid-19? Not only can this make you needlessly anxious, but the news may be fake.
You’re Meeting with “Just a Few Friends”
…when the advice of social distancing is in place is dangerous. Even if it’s “just family.”
You’re “Escaping” Your City
Escaping or traveling to less affected areas of the country (or to another country) puts many people at risk as you may bring the virus with you and contribute to community spreading. This is mainly why the virus has spread to most countries around the world and continues to spread.
You’re Visiting Your Parents
….or grandparents. This puts them at risk of infection and if they are over 70 you put their life at risk.
You’re Ignoring Any Symptoms
Some people ignore mild symptoms thinking that they have only cold. In this way they contribute to virus spread. Stay at home and heal.
You’re Touching Fuel Pumps at Gas Stations
Studies have shown that coronavirus can survive on surfaces for up to 5 days so the road trippers are at risk of Covid-19 infection. Fuel pumps are touched by hundreds of people every day and they are a great source of microorganisms. Therefore, it is important to wear disposable gloves to fill up your tank. Make sure you take them off, wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer before you head into a shop to buy a sandwich or chips. It is a good practice to keep disinfectant wipes in your car to clean your hands and surfaces.
You’re Going Straight to Your Doctor or Hospital When You Have Symptoms
When you experience any flu-like symptoms, don’t go to the hospital or your doctor’s office as you can spread the infection to other people or even to health professionals. Stay home and call your doctor immediately instead. They will tell you what to do. (If it’s an emergency, dial 911.)
You’re Trusting That Other People Are Not Infected
You may find yourself in a situation where your friends or family call you and say that they are absolutely fine and they want to meet you. As much as you trust and love them in this situation, you need to say no and stay at home. Around 40% of people with Covid-19 infection don’t show any symptoms or have very mild symptoms so they won’t even know they are infected. Moreover, the incubation time for this virus is between 2-14 days so the person may be already infected and spread the virus before the symptoms appear.
You’re Touching Shopping Baskets and Carts in the Supermarkets
Shopping baskets and trolleys are touched by hundreds to thousands of hands every day. Make sure you wear disposable gloves when you visit a supermarket, don’t touch your face, and use a hand sanitizer after.
You’re Seeking Alternative Treatments
There is no treatment for Covid-19 up to date but there are plenty of fake cures circulating online. Bleach-based products, vitamin supplements in excess, hot air from the hairdryer, and iodine solutions can cause harm to your body and they don’t give any benefits.
You’re Not Careful Around Pets
If you live with pets, remember to quarantine yourself from them as well. There are no reports of pets becoming ill with Covid-19, but it’s better if you stay away from your animal until more is known about the virus. It includes “petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked and sharing food,” the CDC says. “If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a face mask.”
You’re Believing in Conspiracy Theories
Social media and even some news sites are full of misinformation and conspiracy theories, including some people who claim that the mystery of the virus’ origin might indicate purposeful human involvement. Scientists already sequenced the genome of Covid-19 and proved that it evolved naturally and it wasn’t created in the virus labs.
You Know the Hygiene Guidelines—But Aren’t Following Them All
It may sound obvious, but practicing a good hygiene sometimes can be difficult. CDC recommendations include:
avoiding close contact with people who are sick
not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
staying at home if you are sick
covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue
cleaning and disinfecting touched objects and surfaces using disinfectant wipes
wearing a face mask if you have symptoms of Covid-19 or you are a healthcare worker or you take care of someone who is sick
washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
As for yourself: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.