Updated: Jan 10
David Benaron lives in the Lake Tahoe region of California and works as an Emergency Physician in multiple local hospitals, including the region's only major trauma center located in Reno, Nevada. He is an avid outdoorsman who loves snowboarding, surfing, and spending time hiking and camping with his wife and son.
1 - Designate work shoes and leave them at the door
Given COVID-19 can be spread in droplet form, there are many areas of potential virus accumulation. The ground is one of these places, and our shoes are constantly contacting unclean surfaces. Our shoes have now become a vector for spreading viral particles. A simple way to combat this is to leave work shoes, or shoes worn in public places, outside the home. This act helps leave unwanted viral hitchhikers outside. And remember, wash your hands after putting on and taking off your shores. Shoe removal can be a high-risk endeavor and lead to an unwanted COVID-19 infection.
2 - Use care when taking your mask on and off
There are many opportunities in a day to protect yourself from auto-inoculation. One of these critical moments is when taking off your mask. Masks serve to protect the public by minimizing the user's exposure to the public and vice versa. It is important to assume that when removing your mask there may be viral droplets on said mask. Use care to not touch your eyes and mouth when removing your mask so as to not inadvertently introduce virus into these susceptible areas. Immediately wash your hands to kill any remaining virus.
3 - Do not share food
COVID-19 is a virus that is described as being both a droplet and an aerosol. This means that the virus can infect people by floating in the air and being inhaled, or by touching a surface harboring COVID-19 and touching one's eyes and/or mouth. Enter sharing food. This is a very effective way of accidentally touching something soiled with COVID and then promptly placing those viciously infective particles in your mouth. Compounding this risk comes in the form of sharing food that is shared and touched by many other people (i.e. chips & dip, cheese & crackers). This is how one infected person sharing food can efficiently infect 100 people at a party. Be mindful of this potent perpetrator of the spread of COVID-19.
4 - Have a bottle of hand sanitizer easily accessible in your car
It is important to assume that each time you leave your vehicle you have touched viral particles. Remembering that infection starts with accidentally placing this particle in your mouth or eyes, it is important to keep viral particles out of your private spaces. This is precisely why having a pump action hand sanitizer sitting in the cupholder of the center console of your car is a good idea. Upon entering your vehicle, the hand sanitizer is conveniently placed and ready for use. Wash your hands, and with excess hand sanitizer, wipe down the place you touch frequently like the stick shift, parking brake and steering wheel. This will help to keep a vehicle as clean as possible and prevent the opportunity of stray viral particles finding their way from a surface into your mouth or eyes.
5 - Wear your mask indoors
Mask wearing slows the spread of Coronavirus. Indoor spaces have been shown to be the greatest risk areas for contracting Coronavirus. Given the aforementioned truths, wearing a mask inside is critical to stop the spread. New routines can be difficult to establish. In general, we must actively think about a new routine, and purposely perform this routine until it becomes a habit. Please do the hard work to make wearing a mask wearing inside public spaces a habit. This is one of the most potent tools we have to stop this virus, and progress back to a pre-COVID world. This will keep you safe and protect your friends, family, community and our economy.