Health and Hygiene During a Pandemic

By Bobbie A. Hickman

COVID-19 pandemic is a powerful virus making its way around the world and maintaining good health and hygiene is necessary during this time.

The coronavirus lives on surfaces and in the air anywhere from hours to days. So if a person walks through a grocery store who was infected and coughs or touches surfaces, the virus would be left behind for others to pick up.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the public should avoid close contact with others keeping at least 6 feet apart, wash or sanitize hands often, cover mouths and noses when in public with face masks, and maintain clean and disinfected touchpoints.

Coronavirus spreads person-to-person in close contact via respiratory droplets.

“You don’t need an N95 (mask) to go to the grocery store,” says Richard Powers, respiratory therapist at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. “Just something to cover yourself to wear if there is a droplet because that is all you are going to get out in public is a droplet.”

Powers adds that if people wear gloves to the stores, they need to be aware that whatever they touch with those gloves such as their phones or wallets may have the germs on them. He does not think it’s necessary for people to wear gloves at the stores but instead wash hands thoroughly.

According to the Southern Nevada Health District as of April 22, there were 3314 cases in Clark County with 163 deaths.

With the serious nature of this virus, a focus on health and wellness is important for College of Southern Nevada students.

“My mom started to balance our diet with fish on one day, and beef, chicken or pork on the other, and we would always have our vegetables and fruits or vitamins,” CSN student Abigail Buenviaje says. “I’m more aware of the importance of a well-balanced diet.”

“I am a mother of two boys: 7 and 11,” says Sharmaine Herrera, CSN student. “I am always washing my hands and putting on a squirt of sanitizer after. I do it more often now when I touch simple things at the grocery store or public places. I have a hand sanitizer right in my pocket.”

“I am more conscious of washing my hands in public,” says Regan Margetts, CSN student. “I try to avoid going places as much as possible but when I have to, I wash my hands as much as possible.”

In addition to diet and hygiene practices, reducing stress is important.

“Chronic stress can absolutely have a negative effect on the immune system,” says Susan Hovey, stress management professor at CSN. “For instance, it can reduce production of certain lymphocytes, which are the white blood cells we need to fight infection.” Students can go outdoors and exercise to help maintain a healthy immune system and reduce tension leading to better wellness.

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