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Guest post by Danielle Kunkle Roberts.
[dropcap]N[/dropcap]early every U.S. state now has some sort of stay at home order. When ordered to stay at home, you should remain home except when essential errands are necessary, such as going to work at an essential business, running to the grocery store, or going to the doctor. All other unnecessary trips outside of your home should halt until further notice.
Although it’s recommended you stay at home, some travel is necessary.
If travel is needed and you must leave your home, then there are a few precautions you should take before leaving, while out, and when you return home.
Keep Up on Health Habits at Home
In this trying time that forces us to stay home, it can be extremely easy to throw healthy habits out the window. Sitting around day after day can lead to a binge eating, no physical activity lifestyle. It’s important to maintain a healthy routine, so your immune system isn’t so easily compromised, and you don’t come out of this quarantine feeling sluggish – instead, ready to take on the world.
While self-quarantining, remember to take your vitamins and daily supplements. Also, take a break from binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix and take a walk around your yard. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, too, so you don’t get dehydrated.
If you get your insurance through a Medicare Advantage plan, go online, and check your plan’s benefits. Your plan may offer an over-the-counter allowance each month or year. Use this allowance to buy some essential over-the-counter supplies to help you stay healthy at home.
Carry Disinfectant Products With You
When it comes time that you need to travel outside your home, be sure to carry a to-go bag with hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and any other compact cleaning product in it. Use these to wipe down handles of shopping carts, grab doorknobs, and clean card reader machines. Before you open your car door, be sure to sanitize your hands too.
Another way you can limit your contact to germ-filled surfaces is to limit the use of your hands.
This may sound and look strange at first, but using your elbow or foot to do things you’d normally do with your hands is a great way to stay safe. Instead of opening the door with your hand, use your elbow. Instead of flushing the toilet with your hand, use your foot. If you can complete the motion safely without the use of your hands, do that instead.
Social Distance Yourself From Others
While you’re traveling outside your home, remember to keep six feet between you and others.
Even if you aren’t that worried about getting sick, maintain social distance as a courtesy to the other people running their essential errands. Some carriers of the virus are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t show any symptoms of being sick. So, just because the person in front of you in line doesn’t seem sick, doesn’t mean they aren’t.
Phone Your Doctor
Once you return home, if you start to feel ill, contact your doctor through a telehealth service, such as Teledoc or MD Live. With the spread of the coronavirus, insurance carriers are updating their telehealth coverage to help people contact their doctor without having to leave their homes. Medicare also updated its telehealth services to allow access to every beneficiary.
Having a doctor consult via telehealth is an excellent way to limit your exposure to the virus. Instead of sitting in a waiting room filled with sick patients, you can stay home while still getting the care you need. This upgraded service is especially beneficial to high-risk patients, such as seniors and people with preexisting conditions such as asthma, cancer, and heart disease.
Another thing you should do as you come home from running your errands is to sanitize yourself and anything you immediately touch when coming inside. Somethings you may need to clean include your doorknob, your garage opener, your clothes, and your body. Think of your home as your sterile bubble; you want to keep that bubble as clean as possible for as long as possible.
High-Risk Patients Should Stay Home
If you’re a high-risk patient, just stay home.
High-risk patients have a higher death rate than anyone else. If possible, call a family member or friend and have them run your errands for you. If you need to go grocery shopping, give your grandkid a list and have them drop your groceries on your front doorstep. The more high-risk people stay indoors, the safer they’ll be.