Common Infection Risk Mistakes

These common mistakes can make you more vulnerable to infections, including the coronavirus.  

Learn Ways to Protect Yourself
Initial concerns about virus outbreaks or cold or flu season put you on high alert, but after several weeks you may find yourself slipping up a bit. No one is perfect all the time but correcting these common mistakes can help lessen your risk of infection and keep you healthy. Scroll through to find out what they are.  
You’ve Given Up on Social Distancing
It may be tempting to ease up on social distancing after so many weeks, but steer clear from large crowds as much as possible. The larger the gathering, the higher the infection risk. No in-person interaction is zero risk, but many health experts agree that outdoor activities are better than indoor ones. And as always, be sure to maintain at least 6 or more feet of distance from others you don't share a home with. 
Going to the Store Too Often
Social distancing works because it reduces contact with possibly infected people. Your chances of catching the virus increase with every unnecessary trip to the store. Before going to the store, make a list. Stock up on enough items for at least two weeks. When you do visit the store, spend your time wisely and efficiently. Don’t linger or aimlessly browse. Evidence suggests that the risk of getting sick increases the longer you stay in an environment that may contain the virus.
Not Wearing a Mask
Changing guidelines about wearing a mask may have caused confusion, but health experts agree it’s best to wear one when going out in public. While medical grade respirators should be reserved for professionals, even cloth masks can offer some germ-blocking benefits for you and those around you. But wearing one shouldn’t offer a false sense of protection. Still maintain at least six feet of social distance when around others.
Wearing a Mask Improperly
Wearing a mask is only beneficial when done correctly. Your mask should cover your mouth and nose. It should also fit snugly, but comfortably, with limited gaps so you don’t need to constantly readjust – which can lead to contamination. Avoid touching your mask or face when wearing one. When it’s time to remove it, sanitize your hands before removing the ties or ear bands. Wash your hands after handling your mask and regularly wash cloth masks – hot water with normal detergent should suffice.
Using Gloves Incorrectly
Viruses can still live on gloves. Wearing them doesn’t give you any added protection from touching your face and mouth – especially after you’ve been touching shared surfaces like bathroom doors. Always take gloves off and dispose of them before getting in your car or returning home. Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer as soon as possible. Taking gloves off the wrong way can also expose you. Here’s the right way to do it.
Exercising in Close Proximity
Exercise is important for supporting a healthy immune system but sweating in close quarters increases your exposure risk. Exercising at home or outdoors is best. If you return to the gym, know that you are accepting some risk. Even well-ventilated gyms where social distancing is possible can be hot spots for infection. Shared equipment, like dumbbells, can be hard to sanitize. For other equipment, use bleach wipes and wait at least a minute before using, and sanitize your hands after.
You’re Going to Crowded Parks or Beaches
There’s nothing wrong with getting some sunshine by visiting a park or beach – so long as you can maintain a healthy distance from others. Crowded parks, waterparks, festivals, pools and beaches are hotspots for virus transmission. If you can’t maintain at least 6 ft or more distance, think twice and make other plans.
You’re Not Taking Care of Your Mental Health
Protecting your mental health is just as important as protecting your physical health to support your immune system. Make time for self-care, dial back news consumption and virtually connect with friends to help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. These tips can help if you find yourself in a constant state of anxiety. The Live Yes! Network is also a great way to connect with others and let off some steam.
Stay Informed
News about infection prevention and the coronavirus changes daily. Our Care Connect page is constantly being updated with the latest information to keep you and your family healthy. Click here to access articles, podcasts and learn more about educational webinars to keep you and your loved ones healthy.
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