Staying Safe From Sickness


PHOTO CREDIT: Madeline Convy

By now, everyone has heard of the latest frightening illness: the coronavirus. The outbreak first began in Wuhan, China, but has since spread around the world, with the most cases being in China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea. Although this virus is serious and dangerous, the common cold and flu are spreading rapidly in communities and in schools as well.

Students don’t have time to be sick. With tests, homework and projects due, there is hardly any room for missed school. While the spread of illness is sometimes inevitable, there are some effective ways to prevent both mild and severe sicknesses.

The best way to disinfect your hands and keep germs away from your face starts with good ole’ fashion soap and water. Unfortunately, this method is often dismissed or forgotten. People around the country have been stocking up on hand sanitizers and masks, not understanding that while these may help somewhat, they cannot compare to the benefits and security of hand washing. According to CBS News, 95% of people wash their hands incorrectly. The CDC recommends scrubbing your hands for 20 seconds under hot or cold water, about the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.

This season, it may be a good idea to stay away from large social gatherings. Many worldwide events have already been canceled, such as games and races where fans from numerous countries gather. Yes, it is safe going to the mall or hanging out with friends and family, but it is a little riskier going to a concert with over 1,000 people. Viruses, no matter what kind, can live on surfaces for up to seven days, meaning you should always be cautious about what you are touching and where you are. It is not only people that are carriers of disease, but it is also everything in our environment as well.

Avoiding social events may be for the best, and not traveling is definitely a great way to keep safe and healthy. When talking about the COVID-19 virus, it is advised to not travel out of the country, while flying is considered safe within the states. However, this doesn’t mean catching the cold and flu aren’t potential threats as well. Countless people go on planes with the start of a common cold, infecting their fellow passengers. Of course, traveling doesn’t always mean you’ll come down with an illness, but it is good to be aware before booking a spring break vacation.

Finally, use a tissue for when you cough and sneeze. Sure, this may be obvious and most already do this, but it is always a good reminder to keep others from catching the same sickness.

In the end, stay safe, stay calm, and make good choices when it comes to protecting yourself and others from illness.