The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed. We all play a part in slowing the spread of illnesses such as COVID-19. Following these four steps to help keep you and your family safe.
Social distancing is the practice of limiting the time, distance from and the number of people you are around. COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses are highly contagious and spread from person-to-person through close contact (less than about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when someone with the virus sneezes or coughs.
Social distancing will help slow the spread of COVID-19. Stay home, avoid social gatherings of 10 people or more. By keeping infected numbers low in communities, health care systems won’t be overwhelmed by a large patient volume.
Social distancing will help slow the spread of illness. Protect yourself and others and stay home if you feel sick, except to get medical care. If you need medical care, call your health care provider first and follow his or her instructions before entering any medical facility or clinic.
It is important to cover your cough with your elbow and sneezes with a tissue. Dispose of the tissue and wash your hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol for the best effectiveness. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Good personal hygiene, that includes hand washing, is key to keeping yourself healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends handwashing in the following instances:
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- 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 touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
Clean and Disinfect
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily (or more frequently if someone is ill). This includes doorknobs, tables, countertops, phones, touch screens, keyboards, faucets, appliances, sinks, etc… Do not mix certain household chemicals such as bleach and ammonia.
To mix your own sanitizer mix 1/3 cup (5 tablespoons) bleach per one gallon of water.
Your health care facility or clinic will have precautions in place to protect patients and staff. At Yankton Medical Clinic you will be greeted at the door and screened for fever, cough or other symptoms and asked to wear a mask if necessary. Follow their instructions to help keep everyone safe and healthy. But most of all limit time spent around groups of people and maintain a six-foot distance.
If you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath call your health care provider and follow his or her instructions.
There is a lot of information about COVID-19 and it changes quickly, it’s important to trust a credible source. The South Dakota Department of Health, or your local health department and the CDC are credible sources of information.