Staying Safe During the Coronavirus Outbreak
At CBD Best Review, we talk a lot about health and wellness as it relates to CBD (cannabidiol) and other cannabinoids, but today we would like to talk specifically about the recent outbreak of COVI-19 and how to keep you and your loved ones safe.
On January 30, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Health Regulations Emergency Committee declared the Coronavirus outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.” Health organizations in every country have been ramping up efforts to contain the spread of the disease, and the media has been all over the story with apocalyptic, fear-based stories that have arguably served to fuel terror rather than common sense.
Yes, it is frightening, and everyone is uneasy. International travel has come to a near standstill, schools, universities, and businesses have shut down, and everyone seems to be holding their breath, wondering what will happen next—yet knowing that the world will never be the same.
The implications a microscopic germ has on the global economy are vast, but they are equally as wide-reaching to everyday life as we know it. However, as the old saying goes: “Got a lemon? Make lemonade”. Rather than spread more alarm and panic, we would like to provide you with some common sense and helpful tips that may help you get through this easier.
Handwashing on Steroids
Ok, let’s talk about the handwashing and sanitizer thing. My hands are so dry and chapped from constant sanitizing and washing they feel like sandpaper. It made me think I honestly didn’t wash my hands enough before, which kind of grossed me out. Recently, we saw this meme, and frankly, it epitomized what we were thinking all along:
Ya think? Handwashing became a thing over two decades ago by Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis, yet people still forgo this important step in health and hygiene. Why? It remains a mystery. However, we feel confident that the most recent push for handwashing being the single most important way to prevent the spread of this contagious virus will finally solidify the practice among the public.
How to Wash Your Hands
Yep, we are gonna give you a lesson on how to wash your hands. A little rinse under the sink followed by drying off with that damp towel near the bathroom door might help you feel alright from a psychological standpoint, but it’s unlikely to be effective.
By now, you have probably already heard that scrubbing your hands for the entire length it takes to sing the “happy birthday” song is what it takes to properly cleanse yourself from the nasties. But if that seems too humdrum to you, there are some creative folks over at Wash Your Lyrics that will provide you with any music genre you choose to get through this tedious task.
We particularly like a little Eminem with our handwashing as it also helps acclimate the kids to the idea of Mom’s spaghetti. Now that we have 20 boxes of it in the pantry, they’re gonna be eating that several times a week for the duration.
Seriously, though, the important thing is that you wash those paws thoroughly for at least thirty seconds and dry them on a CLEAN paper towel or rag. Even better? Air dry them. If you need a primer on how to best do this, watch a few episodes of HOUSE on your favorite streaming service to remind yourself how the surgical staff prepares themselves for a patient. Scrub, dude, scrub!!!
Beyond Hand Washing
For those of us in the US, drive-through everything is a thing. We can order our groceries, do our banking, and pick up our favorite Iced White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks without leaving our safe little vehicle.
This seems like a reasonable option. After all, it limits your exposure to the public and all you need to do is wash your hands upon returning home, right?
Think, people, THINK. Your food has been prepared by workers who have been handling filthy currency for hours before they hand your order through that window. They are overworked and nervous as they think about how to keep themselves safe from your germy money.
You get your stuff, you go home, and you feel safe that you have avoided contact with anyone infected. But, have you? Who touched your straw? Who made the coffee itself, who stocked the shelves with the cups?
And consider this: After your drive-through transaction, you touched your steering wheel long before you pulled over and used your hand sanitizer (If you are lucky enough to have that in your car). You go home, walk through your front door, (touching the doorknob) and into your house to deliver everyone’s stuff (again, touching more people and doorknobs).
While drive-through and delivery services like door-dash and grub-hub might make you feel safer, consider anticipating the needs of your family and ordering in bulk. Learn how to make your favorite caffeinated beverages at home to avoid the “touching chain’ that will occur if you opt for a drive-thru window.
Now might be a great time to invest in a new coffeemaker or other kitchen implements. Perhaps you have some of these things already. Learn how to make pizza at home and avoid take-out. Pull out a cookbook and get back to basics.
Here, too, is where your cleaning products will come in handy. Keep that steering wheel clean! If you have access to antibacterial wipes, congratulations! Here in the US, you can’t find them at any store. However, you can access bleach, ammonia, and vinegar, which are all proven antiseptics. It will cost pennies on the dollar to make your own cleaning agents.
If you can’t find paper towels, you can cut up old towels, sheets, or T-shirts to use as rags. Be creative. A rag soaked in bleach and water can clean all your doorknobs, countertops, and surfaces for pennies on the dollar.
Don’t Forget About the Kiddos
Shimon reports that universities and schools have closed down in Israel, and the same is true in the US. I pulled my student out a day before the announcement came that schools were shutting down. This is one of the wisest moves that countries have implemented so far.
If you are the parent of a student in a private or public school, you know how much of a petri-dish these institutions can be. It only makes sense to halt classes until the situation is more under control. Personally, I was relieved, as this means I can keep my family of five safe at home for the duration.
It can be hard to remember with all the chaos going on that our most emotionally vulnerable members of society, the youngest ones, have been exposed to scary media for much of their lives about pandemics and their ramifications. Television shows like “The Walking Dead” have depicted horrifying, bloody, terrible imagery about viruses, with many other movies and series focused on these subjects. If you are like, me, you let your kids watch them. (Betcha regret that now).
Kids of all ages are likely to have fearful reactions. Young ones may be terrified and need comfort and reassurance. Older ones may try to play things off coolly, yet they are looking to you for guidance. It’s so important not to forget how frightened they may be in the midst of all of these events.
Kids might think that because school is closed, they will never see their friends again. They don’t understand what is happening. It’s important to reassure them that you are doing everything you can to make them safe and that you will help them stay happy and busy during this time of isolation.
Your teens may have also heard that they are at less risk than the rest of the public, and they want to hang out with their friends. While it is true that younger members of the population are less at risk, they can still carry it to other members of the family. You may need to walk a fine line between allowing your kids some freedom and maintaining a healthy environment.
In my family, we have implemented a “permission only” policy on leaving the house. But we are also prepared for complete lockdown. Our children are not allowed to take the metro (public bus) go to the mall, attend concerts, or go anywhere where there is a crowd. It’s likely we will tighten up these guidelines in the next week or two as well.
History has provided us many examples where families need to pull together and cooperate out of love and compassion for one another. Let’s foster that.
If your kids see you panic, they will react accordingly. Let them know you are doing everything to keep your family safe, and especially that THEY are safe. Kids who are very empathic may need extra reassurance every day. One conversation might not be enough. They may need to be reminded daily that you are doing everything possible to keep them safe.
Now is the time to get creative. Hopefully, your child’s school has provided an online curriculum. (We are still waiting for ours) For older kids, getting them to do their online work will require an extra time commitment from you, particularly if your kids are not self-motivated. Taking even 30 minutes out of your schedule can eliminate any learning gaps and, who knows! It may provide an interesting and engaging way for you to connect with your kid.
If your children are accustomed to participating in extracurricular activities that have been canceled, this may present an extra challenge. Luckily everyone is in the same boat. Encourage physical activity at your home by participating in backyard games together. It’s a great way to spend time together, and as hokey as that will seem to your older kids, they will likely appreciate the attention more than you realize.
Lastly, limit the amount of exposure to mainstream media. From a mental health perspective, streaming CNN all day long on the TV is a bad idea that will keep everyone on edge. If you can, get the information you need online and then move on to something more productive. Fear is paralyzing.
The Situation in the US and Israel
Here in the States, schools and universities have closed, and students are being asked to leave campus. Businesses are locking their doors and moving to remote work wherever possible. We have a bizarre run on toilet paper and other cleaning supplies as if people have never seen these items before. Store shelves are cleared of canned goods.
Shimon reports that the situation in Israel is similar, saying, “There are only 200 cases out of a population of eight million, and no deaths have been reported. International travel is not yet restricted; however, meetings of more than ten people are prohibited. When spending time with others, it is suggested to avoid physical contact. The government has assured Israeli citizens that there are plenty of supplies, although I did go to the store and stockpile as many others have.
Israel is advanced when it comes to preparing for disasters, and the government is taking extreme measures to keep it from spreading. The situation among retailers and supermarkets has been similar to that in the US, with many shops closing down.”
The Future of Work
Shimon and I are both fortunate to have businesses we can operate anywhere in the world. However, we understand this is not the case for everyone. There are logistical issues for those needing childcare, people who are being laid off, and individuals in dire situations who do not have the luxury of remote work.
Please be mindful of your neighbors and loved ones who may be without basic needs. Here in the US, we have whole populations of people that could not possibly implement some of these suggestions. They are without toilet paper, cleaning supplies, baby formula, and other basic needs. Others have been told their jobs are on hold and will face challenges paying their rent or mortgage. Give generously and often however you can.
In recent years, remote work has become an increasingly viable option to make a living. If your employer has implemented a remote work plan, there is a great article from BBC News that outlines some practical tips on making this a smooth transition. The Atlantic published a similar article that offers some interesting statistics.
For those who are considering taking the work-from-home plunge, there has never been a better time to begin. Ben Taylor in the UK has a terrific site called Home Working Club that offers dozens of work-from-home resources, complete with pros and cons of each platform. Forbes has an excellent list of the 100 best remote companies of 2020, and the Simple Dollar has an article outlining several remote careers to consider.
Spend Some Time Improving Your Marketable Skills
If you find yourself stuck in the house with too much time on your hands, improving upon your current skill set is an excellent idea. Teaching yourself python, graphic design, programming, machine learning, and other skills is as simple as signing up for some free online classes. Online Course Report offers lists of some of the best free courses, some from major universities around the world, with more being added daily. What better time to beef up your resume than now? Even if you don’t feel the urge for self-improvement, you can always take a class just for fun.