As restrictions are lifted and society begins to return to normal life many of us feel anxious about how we should move from the safety of lockdown and self-quarantine to a more social form of life. American Medical Centers is producing specific information about returning to work, school and kindergarten and the following points are of general advice.
Despite the hardships of lockdown it is important to make your changes slowly and to try and assess the risk of each change
- Wear a mask in public places and in meeting new contacts
- Limit the number of shopping trips and try and do these at quieter times
- Carry some hand disinfectant that you can use after visits to shops, taxis etcetera
- Try not to use public transport – if you do then try to distance from other passengers, wear a mask, and immediately disinfect you hands on exit, or wear disposable gloves
- Avoid the use of public toilets and if you have to use them disinfect your hands immediately afterwards
- Try to touch things with your left hand (if right handed) – you will rarely touch your face with this hand.
- Avoid group contacts with new people and if they are necessary maintain social distancing of 2 metres
- Consider your use of café’s and restaurants, even if they are outside, and ensure that tables have been properly disinfected or disposable paper cloths have been used
- Continue to socially distance with elderly people or those with health problems
- Do not ignore other health problems or regular checks, discuss by telephone with an experienced physician
- Ensure that other family members exercise caution and safety, this is important for socially active teenagers who may not pay attention to risks of infection in meeting friends and new contacts
- Try to limit your social activities to established friends and families who you know have a responsible attitude to preventing infection
- If you have any symptoms of Covid-19 infection discuss immediately with an experienced physician
- If you are considering a holiday abroad try to establish the safety of the area and the safety an airline or other transportation gives you
- For domestic holidays make enquiries of hotels about their safety procedures, catering features.
- If you are travelling take adequate supplies of masks, gloves and disinfectants with you
- In general try and visit less busy and popular resorts.
All of these points will minimise the risk of infection and if your broaden your social activities with those people who are similarly cautious and slow about making changes your safety will be greater. Social activity is of course important for all of us especially after such a period of confinement but assessing risks and changing slowly will increase your safety.
Dr Richard Styles FRCGP
Chief Medical Officer, AMC Group