Updated May 21,2020
Updated May 13, 2020
Ways to Help Frontline Workers During the Pandemic
The Coronavirus has put many of our healthcare workers at the frontline of the pandemic. But, what can you do to help? NBC News shared a few ways you can do your part.
The best thing to do is stay home as much as possible – only going out for essentials to reduce the likelihood of getting sick. You should also follow expert recommendations to wear a mask when social distancing isn’t as easy.
Families are also advised to call or use the hospital’s online service if you feel sick instead of rushing to the hospital. Healthcare workers can advise you of next steps if you need to be seen over the phone or online. You can also schedule blood donations to help keep blood for patients who need it.
Lastly, you can donate to your non-profit hospitals and healthcare workers. Sanitizer, gloves, masks and other personal protective equipment is still scarce for many areas. You can also send food, but coordinate it with your local hospital first.
How to Properly Wear Face Masks
The pandemic and risk of infection has led to experts advising people to wear face masks when out and about. But there are proper ways to wear them for your safety. Here’s what the Today Show and experts recommend for your protection:
- It should fit snug around your face, but not too tight. It can have small gaps, but shouldn’t always need to be repositioned.
- Be sure to wash your hands before and after using your mask to avoid potential cross-contamination.
- Once you have your mask on, don’t touch under it without washing your hands before and after. Touching a doorknob, scratching or someone could also lead to contamination by a simple gesture.
- Regularly wash your cloth face mask in the washing machine on hot water to disinfect it regularly. A disposable mask can be worn all day but should be thrown away at the end of the day.
UPDATED: May 5, 2020
Face Masks Become New Requirement for Air Travel
JetBlue is the first major airline to require passengers to wear face masks. COO, Joanna Geraghty, says this is the new flying etiquette. Other major airlines including Southwest, Delta, United, Frontier and others have volunteered to do the same.
According to CNN’s recent video there are still fears of how airlines will handle social distancing and flying restrictions. The leader of the Association of Flight Attendants, Sara Nelson, also suggested a federal ban on leisure air travel.
Currently, only five percent of passengers are checking in compared to this time last year. To keep travelers safe, airlines are using electrostatic sprayers to disinfect planes. They’re not booking middle seats and some airlines are giving passengers disinfectant wipes to use during their flight. Boeing is even predicting that the recovery for airlines could take a year amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
Face Mask Options for the Hearing Impaired
Audiologist, Dr. Sheri Mello, found that her patients that were hearing impaired were struggling to hear during her curbside treatments due to the pandemic. The combination of street noise and masks made it difficult for patients to hear – decreasing volume by 10 decibels.
As a result, Dr. Mello According to CNN, these masks also help in other loud settings such as grocery stores – where masks are common masks with fabric on the outside and page protectors or vinyl shower curtains. The clear sight of the mouth’s movement helps those hard of hearing to help them see the emotion and communicate better.
Wearing Glasses with a Mask
It’s not always easy to wear face masks with foggy glasses. CNN shared a quick tip to help:
- First, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Then, rinse your glasses thoroughly.
- Apply soap to your lens and lather them just as you would your hands. Remember not to be too rough with your lens.
- Once again, rinse your glasses free of soap.
- Lastly, dry them with your lens cloth or a dry towel.
UPDATED: April 28, 2020
Childcare Safety During the Pandemic
Some families with essential workers are still relying on childcare services. Daycares and other services will go back into full swing as states begin to loosen stay-at-home restrictions. Before your children go back to work here’s what the CDC recommends when it comes to daycare and other services to help keep your children and family safe.
- Keep your children home if they’re sick. Create a backup plan with your employer or a loved one to care for them and keep them safe from other children. Staff that are sick should always stay home.
- Wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Teach children to cover their mouths with a tissue and to wash their hands immediately after.
- Ask staff to communicate any early symptoms of illness that your child may face while at daycare.
- Do not have children under the age of two wear face masks or other coverings – they could lead to suffocation.
Some daycare facilities are requiring children to be screened before entering. This may include temperature checks, questions about symptoms and hand washing immediately after entering the building. Reach out to your local facility to understand their restrictions, screenings and adjusted hours.
UPDATED: April 23, 2020
How to Safely Help Those Who Have Been Laid Off
Over 26 million people have filed for unemployment amid the Coronavirus – and the numbers are continuing to skyrocket. According to MSNBC so many want to help make a difference, but it’s important to do so safely considering the pandemic and risk of spreading.
First and foremost, see what they need. Psychotherapist, Amanda Clayman, said it’s important not to make assumptions based on what we think they need or giving based on our own assumptions. Even if you don’t know where to start with one family, here are some broader ways to show you care:
- Check on ones close to you. This is important even for those who haven’t been laid off. Send text messages, FaceTime or a quick email to let them know you’re thinking of them.
- Offer your expertise. If you are great at reviewing resumes, conducting practice interviews or helping someone fine tune a skill start by letting everyone know. Post a social media message offering help free of charge.
- Offer donations to local communities. Give essentials to local community shelters and organizations. Drop-off packaged food, toiletries, toilet paper and other supplies to give to those in need.
How to Disinfect When You’re Low on Supplies
Many disinfectants and cleaning supplies are out of stock at local grocery stores. And families are forced to find safe alternatives that can kill germs just as well as their most trusted brands. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has a list of approved disinfectants that are safe to use and disinfect. A recent MSNBC interview with Dr. Natailie Azar advised that bleach, hydrogen peroxide and different concentrations are safe alternatives. She also advised leaving disinfectants on surfaces until air dries.
Dr. Azar has approved a few other household cleaners that are easy to make at home in her MSNBC video interview. Be sure to be mindful of potential poisons and hazards for children and loved ones in your home.
UPDATED: April 21, 2020
Safety Risks Increase for Grocery Store Employees
Grocery stores are being flooded more than normal with families buying food and essentials. But according to a recent article, even with masks and social distancing rules, store employees are suffering from the novel Coronavirus.
According to CNN, the biggest threat is careless shoppers that are ignoring social distancing guidelines and standing too close to works who are trying to restock or check out customers. And many stores are small – making social distancing difficult.
As a result, some grocery stores are leaning on a few different options to keep their employees safe. Many grocery stores believe that staying open isn’t worth the risk, and they’re closing until further notice. Some stores are allowing a certain number of people in the store at once, and having others wait outside – six feet apart. Others are offering delivery options or curbside pick-up. But there are a few concerns with these two options. First, many families cannot afford extra fees for store workers to handle their grocery shopping. Secondly, online systems are overwhelmed from more people buying groceries online than before. Lastly, some families don’t have Internet access to buy food online and must resort to shopping in the store.
Stay up to date on your local store, their hours and shopping options to keep you and essential workers safe. Remember to where a cloth face covering or mask, stay six feet apart and shop alone if you can to reduce the number of people in stores for everyone’s safety.
UPDATED: April 15,2020
Is it Safe to Book for Future Travel Now?
Some hotels and airlines are offering cheap rates for summer travel plans. Some airlines are offering free cancellation and fees to change dates. But the top question remains – will it be safe by then?
Some travelers have started to book for July vacations onward given the lenient cancellation policies offered by hotels and airlines amid the Coronavirus. Experts say that booking a vacation now can lead to happiness and the enjoyment of a trip comes long before the vacation does.
Experts do believe that the Coronavirus will ease up by summer, but USA Today has a word of warning to anyone looking to travel. Until the World Health Organization (WHO) says it’s safe to resume travel, everyone should stay home and practice social distancing. WHO will update their website and other platforms with Coronavirus updates and the all clear to travel from their organization.
What You Need to Know About Cleaning Face Masks
USA Today has answered many questions related to the Coronavirus pandemic to help you navigate through these times safely. One popular question asks about the proper way to clean your face mask when you’ve been out and about or caring for someone ill.
First and foremost, you should not microwave your mask to kill the potential bacteria. This is especially true if your mask has metal. Don’t try using alcohol or other disinfectants. The best way is to wash them in a washing machine. Do not try to wash surgical masks – they should be replaced after each use.
UPDATED: April 9, 2020
UPDATED: April 7, 2020
Driver’s Insurance Savings During the Pandemic
Your driver’s insurance provider may give you a few bucks back during the Coronavirus pandemic. Why? According to CNN, people aren’t driving as much. Allstate is refunding up to 15% in April and May because less driving means fewer accidents and car concerns. Allstate is also offering their identity protection service for free due to the increase in scams and because we’re online more now than ever. The protection service is available for anyone – even non-customers.
Those who are facing financial hardships can also delay their payment without facing a penalty.
UPDATED: April 3, 2020
Do You Need a Mask?
More and more people are wearing masks as a preventative measure from breathing in air droplets from those with the Coronavirus who cough or sneeze. It should also be worn by those who are caring for sick patients. But do you really need one? CNN’s Sanjay Gupta shared his medical expertise.
“I think what is driving this is that there is significant community spread of this virus,” Gupta said. “It’s not for people who aren’t infected. This is more for people who might be infected and don’t know it.” The hope of wearing a mask is to lower the risk of spreading the virus.
“If you have to go out for something essential, wearing a mask may not be a bad idea,” Gupta shared.
Average Americans who chose to wear masks don’t need N95 masks, but cloth masks are fine.
Stimulus Check Scams are on the Rise
Americans know they could be receiving a stimulus paycheck, but no checks have been issued yet. But, scammers are taking full advantage of people’s vulnerability during the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to CNN, criminals are calling and pretending to be the government. They’ll ask for your account information or other personal data with the promise that they’re sending your check, but need this information first. The IRS has made it clear that no further action is required on your behalf to receive your check. By law, you’ll receive a mailed notice no more than 15 days after the check has been processed. The notice will let you know the check amount, payment delivery method and IRS contact information for questions.
UPDATED: March 30, 2020
Approved Disinfectants to Shop For
The rush for toilet paper, disinfectant and hand soap is continuing throughout the country. It’s becoming harder to find Lysol and Clorox in stores and online. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has compiled a list of approved disinfectants to help you shop. The list includes all of the active ingredients and the contact time that the surface should be wet in order for the disinfectant to work. Hopefully, there are a few alternatives to help make shopping easier during the pandemic.
UPDATED: March 25, 2020
Stay-at-Home Orders in Effect
Across the country, many counties and states are enforcing ‘Stay-at-Home’ orders to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. But what exactly does that order mean? Each state is different, but in large it requires people to stay home with a few exceptions.
You can go outdoors for walks or a jog as long as you continue to practice social distancing. You can also go to the grocery store, pharmacy, gas station or to restaurants that offer take-out. The last exception is to care for a loved one. But, other non-essential services will be closed to help encourage people to stay home and reduce the spread. So far, 16 states have enforced stay-at-home orders.
UPDATED: March 24, 2020
Youth Aren’t Abiding by CDC Recommendations
Unfortunately, the younger generation isn’t listening to federal and CDC advisories to stay home and practice social distancing. Even though people 60 and older and those with pre-existing conditions are deemed high risk, young people are being diagnosed and hospitalized, too. Many are asymptomatic so they feel just fine, but are carrying the virus to others. According to CNN, more than half, 53 percent, of the cases in New York are from adults ages 18-49. Young adults are advised to stay home and practice social distancing to help significantly ‘flatten the curve’ of Coronavirus cases and deaths.
Schools are Taking a Toll
Five states still haven’t closed all of their schools due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Nebraska and Wyoming. The majority of schools in these states are closed, but few remain open. Others have taken schooling online for students to stay at home and avoid spreading the virus.
So far, across the country, over 118,000 schools have been closed – affecting over 154 million students. Closures are weighing on teachers, students and parents. But for high school students, they’re currently trying to figure out how to complete their grade for mandatory graduating credits and take Advanced Placement (AP) exams for college placement. Makeup classes, testing dates and more remain unknown.
According to NBC News and the School Nutrition Association, over 33 million kids won’t have free or subsidized meals from the schools while some schools are closed for weeks. Fortunately, local restaurants and community organizations are coming together to offer kids free meals across the country during the pandemic.
UPDATED: March 20, 2020
The Latest on a Treatment
Researchers have found a possible treatment, called Remdesivir, that stops the virus from growing. In a recent CBS News article, they shared that it can start working in the body around 24 hours after starting the dose. Remdesivir was considered a treatment for Ebola. So far, two patients that have taken the treatment started to feel better the next day. The hope is to provide treatments for up to 1,000 people for clinical treatment soon, but there’s no set timeline.
Addressing the Latest Take-Out Concerns
Restaurants across the country have been mandated to close amid the Coronavirus’ risk of spreading it through large crowds. They’re trying to stay afloat with takeout and delivery options for customers. But is it safe? Some families are concerned that they’ll contract the virus through food or the packaging from those that are asymptomatic. Fortunately, in a recent CNN interview, Dr. Sanjay Gupta explained that you cannot.
“So, it’s interesting. So, first of all, you’re not going to get it from the food that you’re eating. This isn’t one of those types of viruses,” he explained. “It is a respiratory virus.”
If you’re ordering takeout, it’s best to pay and tip online to avoid contact with others. You should ask the deliverer to leave the food at the door, and pick up the food when they leave.
What the Virus Means for Smokers and Vapers
Experts are now saying that those who smoke or vape could be more at risk if they contract the virus. The Coronavirus targets the lungs and could impact your immune system when needed to get rid of viruses. In fact, reports show that the people who smoke or vape are 14 times more likely to face extreme Coronavirus cases and symptoms than others.
UPDATED: March 17, 2020
The Latest on the Pandemic
COVID-19 has closed businesses, gyms, schools and attractions nationwide in a matter of days. Families are being urged to stay home to reduce the spread of the virus. Stores are closing early to thoroughly clean and restock the essentials. And headlines are changing by the second. Here’s what you need to know:
- The U.S. is under a National Emergency, which gives the government permission to use the $50 billion designated for disaster relief.
- The government advises avoiding groups of 10 or more.
- The U.S. has banned travel to and from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Europe.
- Non-essential services and businesses are being forced to close by government orders. This includes fitness centers, bars and theaters. Restaurants are either closing or offering take-out options only.
- Many cities are enforcing curfews and lockdowns to keep families inside and reduce the spread of the virus.
The Scams Continue
Unfortunately, scams are continuing to grow and many are targeting seniors. Scammers have started selling teas and medications giving them the false hope that these remedies can remove the virus from their systems. Criminals are also buying domains that mention the Coronavirus for malware. They’re also sending phishing emails from the World Health Organization (WHO).
How to Stay Safe
Remember, your safety comes first. Experts and the government are advising the following:
- Avoid unnecessary travel and work from home if possible.
- Cover your mouth using a tissue or inner elbow when you sneeze or cough.
- Wash your hands and disinfect surfaces regularly.
- Stay home and avoid social gatherings.
- Pay close attention to your accounts, emails and potential scams.
ORIGINAL POST: March 13, 2020
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is taking over major news headlines with the latest outbreak and updates across states and countries. There’s a lot of information to sort through including scams, symptoms ways to avoid spreading and more. Here’s what you need to know and do:
Symptoms to Watch Out For
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms visit your local doctor for testing immediately.
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
The illness could also lead to difficulty breathing and call for emergency care. Those with pre-existing illnesses, including high blood pressure and diabetes, are more at risk. Currently, there isn’t a cure or vaccine for the virus.
Ways to Avoid Spreading the Virus
You can avoid spreading the virus by following a few simple steps. Most are common and should be used daily beyond the outbreak for good hygiene.
- Avoid contact with anyone that’s sick. And, stay at home if you’re sick.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze using a flexed elbow or a tissue. If you use a tissue throw it away and wash your hands immediately.
- Try not to touch your face, eyes and mouth.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and use sanitizer frequently.
- Disinfect frequently – especially doorknobs, rails and anything often touched at work or home.
- Keep your immune system strong with fluids and a nutritious diet.
About Travel Concerns
WHO says the risk of the virus is still low, but the risk varies depending on where you live or if you’re traveling. Before you travel, check the latest updates regarding your travel, events and the area you’ll be visiting.
A Note about Face Masks
If you’re perfectly healthy, experts say that you don’t need a mask when out and about. Save the masks for those that are sick to prevent spreading the illness. However, face masks should be used by healthcare workers.
Watch Out for Scams
Unfortunately, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the epidemic with scams tied to the coronavirus. They’re targeting people a number of ways including acting as officials with the latest local updates on the virus in exchange for personal information. Criminals are also acting as officials asking for donations to fight the outbreak via phone and email. WHO advises families that they never ask you to log in, ask you to visit a link outside of www.who.int. They also never ask you to donate to emergency response plans or funding. Before you share any information, verify any information possible – links, email addresses or companies.
If you’ve fallen for a scam report it to the Federal Trade Commission based on the scam method. Change all log-in information immediately and keep watch on your accounts. To keep your information safe beyond the outbreak consider an identity theft protection service to automatically alert you if your personal data has been compromised.
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