As it has been almost one year since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacted and changed the world, it’s hard to face that this virus is still very much here and affecting millions of people globally. We now know so much more than what we knew a year ago, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that our daily lives have changed – wearing a mask is mandatory in most public places, you’re taking 20 seconds to wash your hands, and social distancing from strangers, friends, and family is still very real. 

With rapid developments in COVID-19 vaccine distribution, it may feel like a resolution is near. Even so, it’s still important to remember the basics about staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Continue protecting yourself and your family throughout daily routines by remembering some of the basics on staying safe below.

Some Tips to Help You Avoid Getting COVID-19 

For starters, make sure to wear a face mask when you are in public. Because of COVID-19 hospitalizations, medical-grade resources may be limited and only health care workers may be able to get medical-grade face masks. However, facemasks are widely available for purchase at many retail stores and are still effective in protecting yourself and others. To prevent the spread of COVID-19 in South Florida, make sure your cloth face mask is covering both your nose and mouth while you are wearing it. 

Just like wearing a mask, it’s important to wash your hands frequently using soap and clean water for a minimum of 20 seconds. If you cannot wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer that has an alcohol base and ensure that it has a minimum of 60% alcohol. 

Close up of Hands Being Washed With Soap in Bathroom Sink

You should also refrain from touching surfaces that are often touched by others throughout the day. Commonly shared surfaces can include light switches, cabinet handles, elevator buttons, door handles, grocery carts, pin pads, and counters. Another important tip is to avoid touching your mouth, eyes, or nose, especially if you have recently touched a shared surface and have not washed your hands. 

Using disinfectant to clean various surfaces is another good preventative measure to take during COVID-19 outbreaks. Try to pay attention to the label of whatever disinfectant you choose to use to ensure the active ingredient is capable of killing the SARS-CoV-2 virus. You can also refer to the CDC’s website to learn more about effective disinfectants and cleaning methods to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

It’s important to cover your cough or sneeze and toss any used tissue into a trash can right away. If you do not have any tissues readily available, sneeze or cough into the bend of your elbow and immediately wash your hands. 

Social distancing of at least 6 feet from others, especially those who are not in your household, is still strongly recommended, even when wearing a mask. While it may seem natural to want to greet others, try to avoid social gestures such as shaking hands or hugging members outside of your household. Family events, such as family dinners or get-togethers, are considered to be hot-spots for spreading COVID-19 because of the mixing of different households. 

Traveling in Florida During COVID-19

You should do your best to remain informed about updates in the specific area you are traveling to. The local area may have specific instructions or restrictions for public places, so make sure to follow them. Authorities may cancel or postpone some events that may require larger gatherings because of COVID-19. 

While out in public, you should wear a mask and remember to social distance yourself from others, meaning you should remain at least six feet away from other people, as much as possible. 

To make sure you are safely traveling during the pandemic, you should speak with your healthcare provider beforehand and follow instructions and guidance from them.

Senior Couple Wearing Protective Face Masks in Their Car

What If You Are Exposed to COVID-19 While Traveling?

The first thing you should do if you are exposed to COVID-19 while traveling is to contact your TopLine MD Alliance affiliated health care provider to discuss your next steps. Your provider will let you know if you have some restrictions on what you can do and places you can visit for the following two weeks. When in doubt, stay home. 

The first thing to do if you are sick with COVID-19 symptoms is simply to stay home to avoid spreading the virus to others. If you are sharing space with others who are not sick, you can keep them safe by minimizing physical contact. Whenever you touch a surface, make sure to clean it with disinfectant and wash your hands to prevent the spread. Wearing a face mask is even more important if you have COVID-19 symptoms as it is one of the best ways of preventing other people from catching the virus.

A common recommendation is for you to take your temperature every morning and evening for a minimum of 14 days to see if you have a fever. Record all temperature readings that you get during this time and continue to stay in contact with your physician. If you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, if you are not feeling well, or if you are sharing space with someone who is sick, make sure to take the proper precautions by calling your healthcare provider and staying home. 

Head over to the TopLine MD Alliance COVID-19 resource page for more information, updates, and resources on COVID-19.