From the corona virus and influenza to hoarding and fake news, there’s a lot of negativity spreading around our world right now. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone compiled a list of things we DO want to spread? At the Minnesota Birth Center, we know a huge part of public health is replacing harmful practices with healthy ones, so here’s our list of things we’re doing our best to spread. Join us!
P.S. Links throughout are a mix of educational, entertaining, and endearing. Enjoy!
Where’s the first place you go when someone says, “Did you hear about…”? Google? Facebook? News is everywhere, and not all of it is credible. Thankfully there are three organizations that are always at the forefront of honest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic: the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). This is where our staff stays up to date on all the recent recommendations for both personal and corporate practices.
Studies show that hand washing is the #1 way to slow the spread of disease, even more than hand sanitizer (Keeping Hands Clean- CDC). The things that make hand washing more effective? Friction and time. So wash for at least 20 seconds and really suds up! The more movement the better. And don’t forget to #WashYourLyrics! Apply any song lyrics to the UK National Health Service’s step-by-step poster instructions and BAM! You’ve made hand washing fun, especially for kids. Even if they choose ‘Baby Shark’, at least they’ll be clean!
Don’t worry. Your kindergarten teacher was right when she told you coughing into your elbow was safer! But even better? Cover both your mouth and nose with a tissue before you sneeze or cough. Get the tightest seal you can. Then immediately throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. If you don’t have tissues nearby, or your sneeze comes suddenly, the elbow or upper sleeve is still your second best bet. (Coughing & Sneezing | Etiquette & Practice- CDC)
Avoid Face Touching
COVID-19, like many other respiratory viruses, gains access to our body through mucous membranes. Fortunately for germs, we touch our faces up to 23x per hour (Don’t Touch Your Face!- APIC), and our faces, you guessed it, are mucous membrane central. Eyes, noses, and mouths are all prime entry points for bacteria and viruses so it goes to stand that touching our faces with unwashed hands is less than ideal. Anything you can do to decrease that 23x per hour will be beneficial.
Sanitize High Traffic Surfaces
Door knobs, light switches, and railings, oh my! But also counters, faucets, remotes, phones, and keyboards – can’t forget those! There is yet to be conclusive research on how long COVID-19 lives on different types of surfaces so it’s best to err on the side of ‘when in doubt, clean!’ But do you know the difference between ‘cleaning’ and ‘disinfecting’? Is one more effective than the other for stopping the transmission of viruses? Which cleaning supplies do which action? Check out this CDC article with all the good details– Clean & Disinfect – CDC
If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard of social distancing…that’s okay – you must already be doing it! Otherwise, you’ve probably seen this phrase 100x on social media in the last day. It is one of the public’s #1 weapons in fighting the spread of the corona virus. How does this weapon combat this pandemic? This simulation by the Washington Post is the best representation for how social distancing not only protects from the exponential growth of transmission but also ‘flattens the curve’ of transmissions over time so that we don’t overwhelm our hospitals and clinics all at once! While you help protect the public, fret not! There are loads of resources online for ideas of what to do during your self-quarantine, especially if you’ve got little ones. Like this blog! Or this list of kid-approved activities! In the meantime, be uplifted by one Dallas community’s musical reaction to being stuck inside! Lean On Me- Balcony Singing in Dallas
Media plays heavily into our mental health, both positive and negative media. Nowadays, you may be experiencing a range of anxiety when you see anything COVID-19-related because of its worldwide effect and ever-changing status. But remember “anxiety is not right, and it is not wrong. It is just part of the human experience,” says Kristin Lothman, a mind-body counselor at Mayo Clinic. “Healthy anxiety,” she says, “calls us into action to be safe.” So how can we be well-informed and maintain mental wellness? This article says it’s two-fold: coping with the anxiety directly, then regrounding ourselves. Kristin includes multiple videos from coping to meditation, even a ‘bubble breathing’ exercise for kids! Keep up-to-date with the CDC’s recommendations, but then close the phone and do something that brings you joy and relaxation. It’s all in the balance!
We’ve all seen the news about the hoarding of toilet paper, and it may or may not have even led you to go buy an extra pack or two. We all know in our minds not to hoard, but when it happens in our backyard, it can be hard to know how to plan wisely without panicking. Using the US Homeland Security and CDC as major sources, Stefani Sassos, a nutritionist with her Master of Science degree from Pennsylvania State University, compiled a great list to help review and prepare your home for the recommended two weeks of supplies. There is confidence in planning and being prepared! But there is also kindness and wisdom in doing it responsibly. Stefani’s List- What To Stock Up On
Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Wellness, people! We don’t just want to avoid getting sick, we want to be healthy! To do that we can’t forget the ordinary advice: Eat well, sleep well, get that heart rate up for 30 min a few times a week, avoid illnesses other than COVID-19 like influenza by getting the flu shot, and manage stress. Don’t forget to check in with your people (even you introverts!) and attend to all parts of your wellness–physical, mental, spiritual, intellectual, and social! For our pregnant mamas out there, this goes for you too! The CDC has very little research on COVID-19 and pregnancy, but what they haven’t seen is any higher risk of severe symptoms with pregnant mothers. For those that were positive and gave birth, none of their babies have thus far tested positive. They found no signs of the virus in amniotic fluid, or in breast milk for that matter. So all our breastfeeders out there, keep truckin’! You can safely provide baby with that immunity boosting super milk (Pregnancy & Breastfeeding- CDC).
Despite articles upon articles about COVID-19, humanity is still coming out doing amazing things for one another. In your quest to not be discouraged by all the negativity, choose to not only see the positive, but be the positive. Many are being laid off work, missing graduations, running out of supplies, and suffering declining mental health. While practicing all these recommendations to the best of your ability, don’t forget to be gracious and giving to others for the sake of kindness and love. Donate food to your local food bank, shop small businesses, reach out to neighbors to see if they have needs, set up meal trains for the elderly or sick ones in your life, or offer childcare to essential workers if you’re able. Here are some ways to help in Minnesota alone. Enjoy these last uplifting stories of kindness!
Thanks to MBC Birth Assistant & Clinic Nurse Abbie E. for this post!