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  • Writer's pictureSontaya Perry

Coronavirus:(COVID-19) How to keep your family healthy while managing work from home

Currently there are over 287,000 confirmed cases of the virus known as COVID-19 that caused 11,921 deaths globally. The United States currently has 21,000 cases and 267 deaths. Deaths from this virus have more than doubled globally over the last two weeks.

The increases specifically in Pennsylvania are being unintentionally transmitted due to lack of testing. Mayor Tom Wolf has ordered non essential businesses and schools to close, and has encouraged the canceling of events and large gatherings to farther prevent the spread of the virus.

According to the Allegheny County Health Department 40-60% of people In Allegheny County will be infected with COVID-19. Officials from the Health Department are also saying that the virus will not slow on its own until it has infected most people. They are estimating that among those infected, about 80% will not need to seek any medical attention and will get better on their own.

During this Pandemic, it’s important to stay updated on health guidelines from trusted organizations like the World Health Organization, Allegheny County Health Department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Public Health Emergency to ensure you're getting information from reliable sources and to avoid the spread of misinformation.

Tips on how to manage working from home

Balancing work and home can be overwhelming, especially during this time. Here are a few tips on how you can manage working from home:

  1. Establish a dedicated work space and set boundaries.

  2. Set regular office hours to prevent poor productivity.

  3. Don't let things pile up just because you have the freedom of not working right away.

  4. Take a break when needed.

  5. Make sure to eat and stay hydrated.

Hand hygiene and other preventive measures

Household members should follow normal preventive actions while at work and home including recommended hand hygiene and avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.

You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during times when you are likely to get and spread illness-causing germs.

Washing your hands regularly is the most effective way to prevent the spread of germs from one person to another and throughout an entire community. Take steps to protect yourself and others by washing your hands, staying home if you’re sick, and avoiding close contact with those who are sick or immune compromised.

Use alcohol based Hand Sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol when soap and water are not accessible. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label. Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands, but unfortunately do not get rid of all types of germs.

When To Wash Your Hands:

• Before, during, and after preparing food

• Before eating food

• Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea

• Before and after treating a cut or wound

• After using the toilet After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet

• After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

• After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste

• After handling pet food or pet treats

• After touching garbage

• After coming from outside

What to do if you’re sick

1. If you are sick, a face mask should be worn when you are in the presence of other people, especially when sharing confined spaces such as: rooms, vehicles, public transportation and before entering healthcare facilities.

2. If you are unable to wear a face mask due to trouble breathing, you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes.

3. People who are caring for you should wear a face mask while in your presence.

4. Cover coughs and sneezes.

5. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.

6. Throw used tissues in the trash.

7. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

8. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Call your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as coughing or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.

If you develop severe warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

  • New confusion or inability to arouse

  • Bluish lips or face

Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Older adults and people who have underlying chronic medical conditions such as heart or lung disease or diabetes may be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19. Please consult with your health care provider about other steps you may be able to take to protect you and your loved one's.

How to Clean And Disinfect your home

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, counter tops, door handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

If surfaces are dirty, clean them with an all purpose cleaning solution and water prior to disinfection and sanitizing.

To disinfect:

Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface.

Here's an inexpensive disinfect option using a bleach solution:

  1. Dilute your household bleach by mixing 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.

  2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation.

  3. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date.

  4. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other chemicals. Only unexpired household bleach will be effective against the coronavirus when properly diluted.

How to disinfect surfaces and laundry

1. Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for any other purposes.

2. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.

If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using an all purpose prior to disinfecting.

3. Wash Laundry items as appropriate and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, wash items using the warmest water setting for the items and dry items completely.

4. Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from a sick person and then discard the gloves after each use. If using reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other household purposes.

5. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.

If no gloves are used when handling dirty laundry, be sure to wash hands afterwards.

If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air. Dirty laundry from a sick person can be washed with other people’s items.

Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable, can be thrown away or can be laundered. The sick person should eat in their room if possible. Non-disposable food service items used should be handled with gloves and washed with hot water or in a dishwasher. Clean hands after handling used food service items.

If possible, dedicate a lined trash can for the ill person. Use gloves when removing garbage bags, handling, and disposing of trash. Wash hands after handling or disposing of trash.

I hope this information was helpful and helps with the prevention and further spread of viruses.

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