Wear a mask, wash your hands and stay six feet apart. That’s what Elon University physician Dr. Ginette Archinal says you can do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Up to 40% of people who test positive for the coronavirus won’t have any symptoms, according to Archinal, which means it’s important to follow the state and university’s COVID-19 guidelines even if you think you feel well.
“We’re not all going to be able to be here in person if we’re careless, if we’re selfish, if for some reason we think we’re special and don’t have to follow the rules,” Archinal said.
Here are some other ways you can limit your potential exposure to COVID-19:
1. Wear a mask
“We know that COVID-19 is spread mostly through respiratory droplets,” Archinal said. “That means stuff you breathe out of your mouth, stuff you breathe out your nose. My personal philosophy has been for the last few months: assume I have COVID, assume everybody else has COVID, wear a mask.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, being closer than six feet to someone for 15 minutes or more puts you at risk for getting the virus.
“You’re not going to catch COVID because somebody breathes briefly on you for a fraction of a second in passing on a stairwell not wearing a mask,” Archinal said. “We know it depends on how much of the virus is breathed on you and how much that’s breathed on you you breathe in.”
Archinal said you should wear a mask both indoors and outdoors, unless you’re doing strenuous activity. If you’re not wearing a mask, make sure you’re staying six feet apart from others whether you’re indoors or outdoors, Archinal said.
2. Disinfect commonly touched surfaces
Respiratory droplets can also live on surfaces, according to Archinal. When you walk into a classroom at Elon now, you’ll see a sanitation station with wipes, spray and hand sanitizer. You should spray your chair, wipe down your desk and use hand sanitizer before sitting down in class.
3. If you’re going out to eat, opt for outdoor dining
“Eating outdoors is always better than indoors just because you have more air circulating,” Archinal said. “But there’s no reason to not eat indoors. I’ve been doing it over the last month or two.”
Archinal said if you do choose to eat indoors, ensure the eatery’s staff is correctly practicing mask wearing and physical distancing.
4. Try to limit face-to-face contact when you can
The less face-to-face interaction you have with somebody who may be infected, the less chance there is that you will be infected, according to Archinal. For instance, ordering takeout, getting groceries delivered or placing an online pickup order can limit your face-to-face interaction at stores.
If you do go into a store, wear your mask and make sure to use hand sanitizer after leaving, Archinal said.
5. Avoid hugging
“Even if you have a mask on, when you’re hugging, you’re really, really close to someone,” Archinal said. “You can have no symptoms and have a really high viral load. You hug somebody, you’re breathing on their face. Some of that’s going to go through the mask; you may have just infected someone.”
While it may be tempting to hug a friend you haven’t seen in months, Archinal suggested
coming up with other ways to greet friends and loved ones without touching or getting too close.