How to stay healthy in these challenging times

7 min read
Vinita Malu

The year 2020 has been quite a challenging and tough time for all of us. But after months of quarantine, the Government of India has chosen not to extend the lockdown. Moving on is not that simple; we can’t just behave as we did before the pandemic began. We have to make sure to stay healthy and face any similar situations in the future.

The number of COVID-19 cases will determine what happens next in your area.

India has classified districts as red, orange, and green zones. A list of 733 zones are formulated which, at the time of this writing, includes:

  • 130 red zones
  • 284 orange zones
  • 319 green zones

However, the states can designate additional red and orange zones. And obviously, an orange zone can become a green zone, as the infection rate dwindles in that area.

Vigilance is the need of the hour

It is very important to understand that the coronavirus threat is still there. Just because restrictions are lifted, doesn't mean you won't acquire the virus or pass it on to someone else. Hence, this is the most challenging time for all of us.

As responsible individuals, we have to take the necessary precautions to stop the spread of the virus and stay healthy. The following tips can help you in doing that.

7 tips to keep healthy as restrictions are lifted

While restrictions are being eased in many parts of India, it’s important to do all you can to keep COVID-19 from spreading — within your own family and your community. Follow this advice to do so:

  1. Avoid going out unless it’s truly necessary.
  2. Stop touching surfaces with your bare hands.
  3. Cover your mouth and nose.
  4. Keep social distancing.
  5. Wash your hands.
  6. Strengthen your immune system.
  7. Take immediate action if you feel ill.

Do you own a small business that is now, or will soon be, open? Scroll to the bottom of this post for a list of ways to help your workers and customers stay healthy.

Stay Healthy Welcome Back Sign
With small shops opening in many areas, it is up to each of us to stay healthy and safe.
Photo: LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

1. Avoid going out unless it’s truly necessary

At the moment, the best and safest place is your home.

It’s understandable that after a long lockdown, staying at home is quite boring. But just think about the threat COVID-19 virus poses for elders and those with health issues. Hence, make sure to only step out of your home if it’s really important and not as a way to pass time or for entertainment.

2. Stop touching surfaces with your bare hands

Some experts believe the virus can live on hard surfaces for up to three days. This means that you might contract COVID-19 by touching something with an infected droplet on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

Whenever you are going out, carry a tissue to:

  • Open a door
  • Push a lift button
  • Pull a lever
  • Digitally sign for something

If you do not have any tissue, use your shoulders, knees, feet, elbows and knuckles to open doors and complete transactions. When outside, avoid biting your fingernails or touching any part of your face or head, including your mouth, nose and eyes.

3. Cover your mouth and nose

COVID-19 virus is found in high amounts in the nose and mouth. It can be carried by air to others when infected people cough or sneeze.

You should wear a mask at public places such as grocery stores to avoid virus spread.

Use a tissue or sneeze into your elbow to keep your hands as clean as possible. Also, make sure to wash or sanitize your hands carefully after you sneeze or cough.

4. Keep social distancing

Social distancing is important to slow the spread of coronavirus. Joining a group or gathering makes it more likely that you will be in close contact with infected individuals. It is thus advised to keep a distance of at least one metre (3 feet) from any other person. Avoid touching, handshaking or hugging anyone.

Yes this is difficult. Try to think of it as a temporary inconvenience.

Related: 10 tips to adapt your business for social distancing

5. Wash your hands

Stay Healthy Person Washing Hands

Washing hands thoroughly is one of the best defences against acquiring COVID-19. Make sure to wash your hands as soon as you come in from outside.

Use warm water and soap (an antibacterial and antiviral soap) and rub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Work the lather to your wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails. Use hand sanitizer when you cannot wash your hands properly.

6. Strengthen your immune system

As there is currently no effective line of treatment or vaccination for COVID-19, it’s important to do whatever you can to build a solid immune system that can help you fight the virus.

This can be done by eating healthy and nutritious food and by totally avoiding eating or drinking outside food. This ToI post has a list of immunity boosters you might enjoy.

Exercise daily, meditation and yoga — especially the poses that can strengthen your lungs.

7. Take immediate action if you feel ill

Stay home and self-isolate even with minor symptoms such as cough, headache or mild fever until you recover.

If you have a fever, cough and trouble breathing, get medical attention right away.

Follow the directions of your local health authority. National and local authorities will have the most up-to-date information on the situation in your area. They will serve you in the best possible way and will also help in preventing the spread of the virus.

Stay Healthy Person Selling Face Masks
It is recommended that you wear a mask whenever you are in public.

Health and safety tips for those opening workplaces

A number of shops and other businesses in India have started or will soon start opening. Along with the above-mentioned tips, they should follow these steps to keep workers healthy:

  • If possible, open your workplace gradually, spreading desks and workstations apart. Continue to encourage work from home whenever possible and feasible.
  • Use physical distancing, hygiene practices such as hand-washing and enhanced cleaning to cut down on workplace virus transmission. You can read more here.
  • Adopt flexible work arrangements to minimize overlap across teams, limiting the number of people in the building at one time.
  • Allow employees to report to work at a different time to avoid rush hour if they use public transportation.
  • Do not share personal items or computer equipment and use alcohol-based wipes or sprays to clean any shared equipment like monitors, keyboards and shared printers before and after use.
  • Encourage employees through posters or emails to adopt good hygiene practices, such as frequent hand-washing, the proper way to cough or sneeze and physical distancing.
  • Have a proper cleaning of the workplace and emptying of bins regularly. Use alcohol-based disinfectants to clean hard surfaces like countertops, door handles and furniture.

Make sure everyone who enters your workplace knows they have your permission to stay home if they have any symptoms of COVID-19. Better to avoid spreading the virus to others.

Related: Create a work from home policy

You can stay healthy

Don’t lose hope, be positive. Everything happens for a purpose; maybe this time it’s to heal the environment. Together we can and we will fight these challenging times and pandemic.

Stay safe, keep healthy.

This post should not be taken as medical advice. The information here was accurate as of publication date. Refer to the Government of India COVID-19 dashboard for the latest updates and resources.