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How to practice social distancing

By practicing social distancing we can all support our healthcare workers and patients


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in news


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Due to the current COVID-19/ Coronavirus pandemic the Government has asked us all to play our part and practice social distancing by staying inside and avoiding all unnecessary contact with others where possible. 

Why do I have to social distance? 

You may feel uncertain why you have to distance yourself from your friends or partner if you have no symptoms of COVID-19/Coronavirus and do not think you will pass the virus on. You may feel that everyone will get the virus at some stage, and that your body will be able to fight it off, so what is the point of distancing yourself from everybody now. But the effects of choosing to social distance, reach far beyond you and your circle of friends.

By social distancing we can all help to slow the spread of the virus and give our healthcare workers the best chance of being able to save lives. This is an emergency situation unlike anything we have experienced before and by making small and temporary changes to our lifestyles we can help fight the virus.

We all have people in our lives who need protecting, such as our grandparents, parents, those close to us who may have underlying conditions, pregnant people and young children. By choosing not to spend time with your friends and partners you are helping to protect the most vulnerable in our society and those most important to you in your life.

How can I slow the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

To protect yourself and others from COVID-19/ Coronavirus it’s important to think about how the virus is spread.

Coronavirus is spread in sneeze or cough droplets. To infect you, it has to get from an infected person's nose or mouth into your eyes, nose or mouth. This can be direct or indirect (on hands, objects, surfaces). Keep this in mind. It will help you remember all the things you need to do to protect yourself and others from the virus.

Practicing social distancing

Social distancing is important to help slow the spread of coronavirus. It does this by minimising contact between potentially infected individuals and healthy individuals.

Some of the things you can do to help:

  • Keep a space of 2 metres (6.5 feet) between you and other people
  • Reduce interactions with people other than those you live with
  • Reduce the number of people you meet every day, such as groups of friends
  • Avoid communal sleeping areas, such as hostels
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Work from home if possible
  • Avoid shaking hands or make close contact such as kissing, where possible

How to help slow the spread of COVID-19/Coronavirus

To help slow the spread of COVID-19/Coronavirus:

  • Anyone who has symptoms should self-isolate for 14 days
  • Avoid spending time in groups, such as in the park with friends
  • Avoid interacting with vulnerable people, such as your grandparents, where possible

How to protect yourself and others from COVID-19/Coronavirus

Follow this advice as strictly as possible and encourage your friends and family to follow this advice also.

Practice:

  • Washing your hands properly and often
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
  • Putting used tissues into a bin and after wash your hands
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Avoid close contact with people - keep a distance of 2 metres (6.5 feet) between you and others
  • Avoid crowded places, especially indoors
  • Wear a mask on public transport, in shops, or in crowded spaces where social distancing isn't possible.
  • Follow the travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs
  • Stay at home if you are sick to help stop the spread of whatever infection you may have

Avoid:

  • Touching your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • Sharing objects that touch your mouth – for example, bottles, cups, smokes or vapes
  • Shaking hands and kissing

Washing your hands

Washing your hands properly is now more important than ever. You should wash your hands:

  • After coughing or sneezing
  • Before and after eating
  • Before and after preparing food
  • If you were in contact with someone who has a fever or respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing)
  • Before and after being on public transport or in a crowd (especially an indoor crowd)
  • When you arrive and leave buildings including your home or anyone else's home
  • If you have handled animals or animal waste
  • Before having a cigarette or vaping
  • If your hands are dirty
  • After toilet use
  • Keep your hands in good condition, moisturise them often. Any basic product that is not perfumed or coloured is okay
  • Do not wear gloves instead of washing your hands. The virus gets on them in the same way it gets on your hands. Also, your hands can get contaminated when you take them off

Read a step-by-step guide on how to properly wash your hands and avoid infection.

Should I be wearing a face mask?

Face masks are being used at the moment to help stop the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). They can help stop someone who doesn’t know they have the virus spreading it to other people. Face coverings are now mandatory, which means you have to wear one, on public transport and in shops and shopping centres.

Feeling overwhelmed or want to talk to someone right now?

If you are a customer of the 48 or An Post network or cannot get through using the ‘50808’ short code please text HELLO to 086 1800 280 (standard message rates may apply). Some smaller networks do not support short codes like ‘50808’.

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Published March 20th2020
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.
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