Social distancing is a big catchword due to the coronavirus outbreak. It is one of the strategies employed to help prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19. What is social distancing, exactly, and why is it so essential?
Social Distancing and Its Importance
The COVID-19 infection has been going around the globe, with many countries going into lockdown and community quarantine. The need for social distancing is emphasized by authorities and health practitioners. Social distancing means limiting your proximity to other people. Different regulating authorities have different determinations of specific distances and behaviors that they consider constitutes social distancing.
A common recommendation is a minimum of six feet (about 1.8 metres) to other people. Why six feet? Because the bulk of the trajectory of a cough or sneeze droplets is often within three feet (0.9 metres). The new coronavirus can be transmitted through those droplets, as well as by touching contaminated surfaces.
Other aspects of social distancing include staying at home. That means that work in the office can be suspended, and schools can be closed. Where possible, you can work from home, and your classes can be done online. Mass gatherings, such as sports events, parties, religious gatherings, and even weddings and funerals, are also prohibited or have attendee limits in a bid to reinforce the social distancing measures.
Another aspect is self-quarantining, when you are unsure whether you may have had contact with an infected person. This is especially important when you are feeling sick. It means self-isolating for 14 days, the period it can take for the symptoms to show up if you are positive with the COVID-19 causing virus.
Self-quarantine requires that there be no direct contact with other people, no visitors, and no sharing of physical goods that may act as a transmitter for the virus. You also need to ensure that you practice proper hygiene, especially washing your hands with soap and water, and not touching your face.
Experts say that strict compliance with social distancing will dramatically slow down the rate of transmission of the coronavirus. Doing so will help ease the burden on all those at the frontlines, especially the health workers.
Prevention is currently our best weapon against the spread of COVID-19, given that, at the time of writing this article, we don’t know yet of a safe and effective medicine or a vaccine.
How to Follow the Rules of Social Distancing?
Keeping a safe distance from other people is easier said than done. Not because you don’t really want to keep away from them, but sometimes, it is necessary to get close to others so that you can meet your basic needs, such as grocery shopping and buying medicines. Here are some tips on how you can follow the rules of social distancing:
Stay at Home
Even if you are healthy and you don’t suspect that you are infected, just stay at home. That’s one of the best things you can do right now as a member of your community. Just by staying home, you can help stop the spread and even save a life – perhaps your own or a loved one. Aside from protecting yourself, you are also being socially responsible.
Wash Your Hands
If you do need to go out to get your basic needs, how do you protect yourself and others? Efficient and regular hand-washing. Wash your hands before you go out so that you don’t spread any virus to others. Then, after doing your tasks outside and coming home, wash your hands again to protect yourself.
Understandably, staying at home can be very distressing for some people, especially if you are a sociable person. You might not be able to stay inside your room for even just a whole day without losing some of your sanity. We all know that being socially isolated can have an adverse effect on your mental health.
Try to figure out how you can practice self-care, and give yourself some sense of normalcy. If that means going out for a bit of a walk or run, choose the best time when there are few others on the streets. Better yet, do your workout in your backyard if possible.
If you miss your friends and your family, there are many ways to connect with them these days. You can text or chat, call them, and do video calls. When you meet your mental health needs, it’s easier to follow the social distancing rules.
It is a critical time for many people around the world. Social distancing is our best bet at the moment, so do your part to support it. By staying at home, practicing proper hygiene, and self-isolating yourself when the need arises. You are not only protecting yourself but your loved ones and greater community as well.