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 12 things that put you at risk, by Dr. Monika Stuczen, a medical microbiologist who knows her stuff.
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. 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.
You’re Touching Things
…public transportation handrails, doorknobs, switches, toilet flushes. Again, wash your hands and don’t touch your face.
…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.
And to help determine if you might have it, read This is What Happens to Your Body When You Get Coronavirus.