Let's be real: before the pandemic, how often did you wash your hands?
Nothing has illuminated America's gross habits and tendencies as abruptly as the fight against COVID-19, and it really shows. From hand-washing to touching your face, here are 10 health habits we should all be mindful of, even when we aren't amid a pandemic.
Obviously, washing your hands is an integral part of maintaining personal health; the surfactants in soap separate microbes from your skin, lowering your risk of spreading or contracting infection. So why did we spend the first few months of this pandemic making PSAs to convince people to actually wash up? Do better, America.
The longer you wash your hands, the safer you make yourself. Before the pandemic, though, it wasn't uncommon to see people simply soap up and rinse their hands in a few seconds. Scrubbing takes time!
Keeping your fingers off your face.
Transferring germs from your fingers to your eyes, nose, or mouth is one of the biggest ways we're spreading COVID-19. Imagine all the tiny disgusting things we subject our faces to on a daily basis!
Coughing and sneezing into your elbow.
This is just common courtesy. Come on.
Wearing a mask to protect others when you've got a cold.
If you've ever been in a crowded lecture hall and suffered through the person next to you hacking up their guts, you'll understand why wearing a mask matters. Yes, it's a necessity to slow the spread of COVID-19, but again, it's just common courtesy to protect others from your seasonal flu.
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Visiting a doctor as soon as you recognize symptoms of an illness.
We've shifted away from primary care in the last 50 years in favor of telemedicine, specialization, and provider flexibility, but this doesn't allay our need for reliable generalist healthcare. Thanks to COVID-19, we're starting to revisit the idea that once we exhibit non-normal symptoms, we should visit a doctor – not stave off medical care until we're hospitalized.
Disinfecting common surfaces daily.
Doorknobs, countertops, shopping carts, and your phone screen have all gotten a little used to Clorox wipes and alcohol pads during quarantine. Before this, though, did you disinfect your surfaces each day?
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Washing fresh fruits and vegetables before eating.
A friend once told me that they enjoyed the taste of supermarket wax on their apples. Not for me, thanks.
Keeping your diet whole, natural, and packed with nutrients is a great way to preserve your immune health and strengthen your body's ability to fight illnesses down the line. Make sure to include lots of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and zinc in your meals for a boosted immune system.
Flushing with the seat up is probably the grossest habit that the novel coronavirus has managed to halt. "Toilet plumes" are real, people, and they're propelling your germs straight into the air. Please let us grow past this awful habit.
Living with COVID-19 hasn't been easy. We've adjusted our habits to reflect these healthy behaviors (that should've been commonplace to begin with), and I believe we'll be a safer society after this virus passes if we uphold these simple precautions.