Summer Reflections on Staying Safe
Posted on: Aug 14, 2020
Here is the latest advice from public health experts about the
best way to protect yourself and to reduce the spread of the virus that
causes COVID-19. Some of these tips will be familiar to you and some are
new. It’s still true that the best way to stay safe is to limit your
interactions with other people as much as possible and take precautions
to prevent getting COVID-19 when you do interact with others.
Here are 4 things to remember.
1. Remember the rest of your health.
- Many older adults have one or more chronic conditions, such as
diabetes, heart disease or hypertension. For managing these conditions,
consider seeing your doctor using a telehealth.
- Many health care providers are now encouraging some patients to
schedule the routine visits they may have been putting off. Speak to
your doctor about whether vaccinations and other preventive services are
up to date to help prevent disease.
- Do not delay emergency care, especially if you are experiencing
shortness of breath, chest pain, or discomfort in your arms, back, or
neck. These could be symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. Acting fast can save your life.
2. Practice physical distancing and stay at least 6 feet apart.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) still suggests you wear a cloth face covering or mask when you are around people who don’t live in your household.
- It’s still best to limit your exposure and physical interactions with other people as much as possible. If you decide to go out
or visit with family or friends, the safest approach is staying
outdoors for optimal ventilation and keeping 6 feet apart. The closer
you are to other people who may be infected, the greater your risk of
- Indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces where it is harder to keep people apart and there’s less ventilation.
3. Use common-sense actions to stay safe.
- Stock up on cleaning supplies. You should clean frequently-touched
surfaces in your home such as light switches or doorknobs at least once
- Manage stress, get enough sleep, and wash your hands
often (and for at least 20 seconds) with soap and water. If soap and
water is not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60%
- Stock up on healthful foods, have 30 days of medication
on hand, and try to stay physically and socially active. Regular
physical activity benefits your mind and body! Go for a walk or try
chair exercises with NIH’s Go4Life here.
4. Ask for help if you need it.
- If you are at high-risk of complications from COVID-19 or are unable
to get items you need, consider contacting family or friends to lend a hand.
About Dorothea Vafiadis, MS
Dorothea Vafiadis is the Director
of NCOA's Center for Healthy Aging. Her professional experience of more
than 20 years in public health and at non-profit organizations includes
developing nutrition and prevention strategies, translating
science-based recommendations to drive behavior change and establishing
nutrition policy guidelines with USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and
Promotion. She is a member of The National Academies of Sciences,
Engineering, and Medicine’s Food Forum.