As Americans try to cope with the shutdown of classrooms and college campuses, restaurants in which they can no longer congregate or sporting events and concerts that have been put on indefinite hold, citizens of all ages find themselves seeking new ways to enjoy life and entertain themselves.
And given the creative spirit that exists within us all, we thought we’d try to identify a few suggestions for coping with the directive of self-isolation in a society that has long sought ways to be in community. Further, we want to share what we’ve heard about ways to safeguard yourself from the coronavirus with proven methods.
What follows certainly cannot begin to be considered an exhaustive list. We solicit your ideas and strategies as well and hope to include them in our upcoming editions. Feel free to share your words, your pictures, your videos, and more with The Washington Informer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grab a Cookbook, Download a Recipe to Make Self-Isolation Fun
If you’re anything like my late stepfather, the best you can do in the kitchen is fry an egg or boil a hot dog. But with restaurants now shuttered and only takeout orders available, many folks are using part of their home that was once more for show than actual use: the kitchen.
So, while you’re now working from home or temporarily out of school or college and back with the parents to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, you’ve probably realized that you cannot make it on eggs and bread alone. And with home economics (now referred to as family and consumer sciences) on the decline over the past few decades, as well as two-parent homes in which both work full-time limiting the amount of daily cooking that occurs, cooking has become less frequent.
Why not use this time to build up your culinary skills? More and more people are watching online tutorials, calling their folks for FaceTime encounters or weighing in with experts via Twitter and Instagram to either improve or learn how to cook. As a last resort, at least for some, there are a plethora of cookbooks to which you can refer.
You may even consider enrolling in an online cooking class, engaging with a meal-kit service or maybe going to YouTube and watching the pros. Still, you may have to limit how complicated you want to make your menu. After all, grocery shopping has become a real challenge since we’ve been hit with the coronavirus pandemic and online shopping hasn’t always proven to be the answer with suppliers running low on the basics.
But you can do it!
One word of caution: fire marshals are saying they’ve seen an increase in home fires since the pandemic struck. So, when you’re cooking, you need to remain in the kitchen. Making fries and a burger is not the time to attempt to multi-task. Remain focused. Give Twitter a rest for a few minutes — at least until you’re able to sit down with your plate and a hot cup of coffee or a soda.
Don’t Just Hand-Wash — Be Sure to Moisturize, Too
“Keeping skin moisturized is important. If the skin is raw, then the soap and alcohol disinfectants do not work as well,” said a physician in pediatric infectious diseases at a Delaware hospital, DuPont Hospital for Children as cited in a recent Washington Post feature.
It’s not enough to frequently wash your hands or to use hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Hygiene experts suggest one more step: moisturize. They say that as we wash our hands more and more, they tend to become dry and cracked, leading to our hands bleeding. With open wounds, our hands become more susceptible to infection as microbes can more easily enter through those sores or cuts.
But you don’t have to spend a lot of money for an effective moisturizer. Any drugstore brand will work like Vaseline or Aquaphor — just make sure you moisturize right after you wash your hands. And remember, if your skin is starting to become dry or raw, you may be washing your hands a bit too much.
One final note from the medical experts: do not rely on hand sanitizing as your first line of defense. Actually, while hand-washing can contribute to your hands becoming drier than hand sanitizing, it’s actually the most effective means of preventing infection.
So, grab that Oil of Olay if you want. Or grab a cheap, off-brand jar of petroleum jelly. But keep those hands moisturized.
Beware: These Cures for Coronavirus are Bogus
For the moment, there remains no known cure for the coronavirus — and there’s no vaccine either. But there’s certainly been widespread misinformation — “fake news,” if you will — that’s been making the rounds on social media. So, beware! In fact, on social media, memes have emerged as a means of issuing bad advice — sometimes fueled with a list of instructions that must be immediately followed or a series of nonsensical graphs and charts.
Here are some of the false claims that are running rampant via Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp:
Gargling with warm water and salt or vinegar “eliminates” the coronavirus.
Sipping water every 15 minutes or so, can protect you from the virus. The idea is that frequent sips keep the virus from entering the lungs. False.
One video says the virus cannot survive in hot temperatures, leading to some folks pointing a hair dryer at their face with the goal to heat the sinuses at 133 degrees — the “coronavirus kill temperature.” Again, false.
Ingest colloidal silver, often in bottled liquid with silver particles. The FDA recently warned several companies to stop selling products, including colloidal silver, which those companies suggest either cure or prevent the coronavirus.
Taking additional vitamins, especially the ever-popular vitamin C, or ingesting things like garlic, pepper, mint or elderberry have been cited as foods and supplements that can protect you from the pandemic. And while they’re good to include for a more balanced diet, they have not been proven to protect people from COVID-19.