Coronavirus tips: Practical tips on how to keep safe whenever you are out in public.

Bayo Ajibola

If you aren’t currently making use of these tips, now’s the best time to start.

Going out of the house for various tasks and get fresh air are essential things to do that will help you to keep healthy and sane. However they also set you on a collision course with others outside your family — and the germs that are still around, endangering lives and livelihoods. That’s the reason an increasing number of states and stores are tightening up measures to expect wearing face masks or homemade face masks and social distancing inside everywhere.

But there are many more safety measures to take too since the highly contagious new strain of coronavirus can be passed on by people who appear asymptomatic, it’s important to stay alert. Please consider these tips.

[1] Wear a face mask in public places.

It is now recommended that people who live in areas with high transmission rates, and those that are going to areas where they cannot maintain social distancing (that is, six feet of space between you or someone else who is not your household member), cover their nose and mouth with cloth or another type of breathable fabric, which includes face masks you make at home or buy.

This is recomended when you gather around other people, like in retail store, and not while you’re alone in your car, or taking a walk where keeping six feet from others is easy to do. At the very least, it’s a good idea to keep a face covering on hand if for no other reason than to avoid a strangers’ side eye or lecture at the store.

[2] Don’t make shopping trips a source of entertainment.

The point of stay at home efforts is to prevent you from transmitting the virus to other or getting it yourself. Yes, that may be boring, however the list of COVID-19 symptoms is long and terrifying for those who have it, even when they do recover, which could take weeks.

The bottom line: You do not need this, and you want to limit your exposure to others. So shop quickly and efficiently. Now is the time to get what you need and get out, not to browse shelves so as to pass the time.

[3] Enough with the fingertips:

Make use of your knees, feet, elbows and knuckles instead
In case you are still pressing buttons with your fingertips, stop. Whenever you have to open a door, push a button, pull a lever or digitally sign for something, use a different body part instead. You’ve got plenty.

[4] Distance, distance, distance.
Social distancing could mean anything from hunkering down at home and refraining from seeing family and friends in person to keeping a boundary between you and others when you do go out. The concept of keeping 6 feet away from those outside your home group also includes waiting in line at the supermarket, going on walks and picking up food to go.

If you want to keep more distance between you and other people while you’re on a walk or when grabbing an item at a shop, take a step back and wait or politely ask the person to give you more clearance.

[5] Watch where you put your phone
While we’ve gotten the go ahead to use disinfecting wipes on phones, another smart idea is to avoid placing your device on iffy surfaces to begin with. Do you really need to put your phone down, or can you just put it in a pocket or purse? The less you can expose your phone to shared surfaces, the less you need to worry about them in the first place.

Should you choose to put your phone down on a shared surface, for example if you’re paying for takeout, lay down a napkin and put your phone on that. It’ll save you the need to sanitize your device quite so often.

[6] Don’t go through produce with your bare hands
At a time when face masks are increasingly common in stores and shoppers giving you the side eye for rummaging through orange, here is a little tips: Don’t poke the bear.

When sorting through food, use a glove or stick your hand inside a fresh, store-supplied bag. Then you can use the outside like a glove to pick up and inspect the garlic and bananas you want, so as not to touch every item with your bare hands. It will make others feel much more comfortable, and is just as likely to encourage them to do the same.

[7] Whatever you do, touching’s off limits
Listen, if they don’t live in your household, do not touch them. Many of us are observing this dictum by now, but on the off-chance you see a pal or member of the family, resist the urge to hug, tap elbows or get anywhere closer than 6 feet. Air hug if you have to. Blow a kiss (minus the actual exhalation). We’ve 13 clever and satisfying ways to safely greet someone who keeps you and loved ones safe.

[8] Wash your hands every time you get ‘home’ — seriously
Together with social distancing, washing your hands extensively is one of your best defenses against acquiring coronavirus. Give your hands a thorough wash every time you get back. 20 seconds is the going recommendation, which may feel like ages, however if you wash slowly, it’s not hard to do.

I count five long seconds (one-one-thousand) of soaping each hand, in between the fingers and up to the wrists, then count another five seconds for washing each hand thoroughly to get the soap (and any dead germs) off. I often wash the soap dispenser pump and faucet handles, too.

That helps me feel safe enough to adjust my contacts, blow my nose and pick that nagging something or other out of my teeth in the comfort of my own space.

[9] Don’t forget about your car and home
Once you’ve got back from running errands, it doesn’t hurt to wipe down your car and surfaces in your home, most especially if you share it with others. Person-to-person contact is easily the most common vector, but viruses and bacteria do spread through objects and other forms of indirect physical contact. Here’s our guide for sanitizing your home and car.

[10] Carry extra napkins, disinfecting wipes and facial tissue
Packing extra tissues, disinfecting wipes, wet wipes and other paper products in my purse is already part of my habit, but now I pay extra attention to how much paper I have on hand.

Normally, I might use a spare napkin to wipe my hands after an impromptu snack (also in my bag). These days, these products could come in handy to clear away germs, or act as a barrier between you (or your phone) and a surface. For example, opening a door handle if you just saw someone cough into their hands before turning a knob.

[11] Stop handling cash
While it’s believed that the highest risk of getting coronavirus comes from person-to-person transmission, we do know that shared surfaces can harbor the virus. Play it safe by setting the cash aside in the meantime and relyin more on contactless payments.

A large number of payment terminals accept Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and credit cards with the contactless logo on them. And remember, if a digital signature is required, you can use your knuckle instead of your index finger. For a physical signature, start packing your own pen.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

Bayo Ajibola

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