It’s been five days since our governer, Henry McMaster, gave the executive order to shut down all schools and three days since the shuttering of all dine-in facilities in the state of South Carolina. So much uncertainty and fear. But if you are a mom, first and foremost it’s important to keep morale high while keeping your family safe. Thing is, practicing social distancing from the public can be managed, but with no school and most spouses grounded from business travel, the homestead quickly becomes cramped quarters. This can be a breeding ground for a virus like COVID-19.
Q&A With Dr. Jessica Mendelsohn About The Coronavirus
I thought it would be good to get the perspective and insight of a medical professional and mom who can answer questions about the virus and offer advice. So here is a Q&A with Dr. Jessica Mendelsohn, a general medicine practitioner, owner of New South Family Medicine and mother of two beautiful boys (Charlie, 6 & Henry, 3).
And after the Q&A I offer Helpful Tips For Moms (From Moms) On Preventing The Spread of Coronavirus In Your Home.
What is Coronavirus?
This is a large family of viruses that cause colds and upper respiratory infections. COVID-19 is mostly spread through droplets in the air when someone who is infected sneezes, coughs or speaks too closely to another person.
How can you protect yourself?
- WASH YOUR HANDS!
- Avoid touching your face.
- Avoid close contact with someone who is sick.
- STAY HOME if you are sick.
- Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough – do this in your elbow or a tissue.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly.
What is social distancing?
This means staying away from other people at a distance of at least 6 feet. Social distancing matters because we have the ability to actually STOP the spread of the virus this way. If we limit contact during the peak of this illness, we have the chance to decrease transmission to our most vulnerable population, who are the most likely to get hospitalized and potentially overwhelm our hospitals. Stop it before it gets to them.
What if I am sick?
DON’T PANIC!! It is still flu season and now allergies are in the air. CALL your doctor’s office before driving. It is likely they will direct you to stay home, rest, and hydrate. It is best not to expose yourself or others in a crowded waiting room. The CDC currently recommends no contact until you are fever free for 72 hours. Use fever-reducers and cough medicine as directed by your doctor.
How do I get tested?
Again, CALL your doctor’s office to see if testing is available. Testing is still in short supply. Even if you are able to get to a testing site, there is no guarantee that you will be tested regardless of your symptoms unless they are already severe. Unless you are short of breath or have underlying medical problems, it is still best to STAY HOME. Most medical facilities are now offering virtual visits, which is a great way to determine next steps with a doctor.
However, if you are healthy and asymptomatic, getting a test does not mean you are in the clear. It means that, at that moment, you are negative. If you go then to a public place after your negative result, you are still at risk for new exposure to COVID-19. This is why social distancing is still so incredibly important and will be for a while.
Where should I go for accurate information?
At New South Family Medicine, we are following the guidelines set forth by of the Centers for Disease Control, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Helpful Tips For Moms (From Moms) On Preventing The Spread of Coronavirus In Your Home
And here are a few useful tips that may come in handy while everyone is at home:
- Use Alexa to set “cleaning reminders.” I have reminders set for 10:30- am and 6:00 pm every night to wipe our phones, fire sticks, remotes and my sons’ electronics with lysol wipes.
- Change the hand towel daily. I got this idea from my friend Wendy and since we started doing it a few months ago I swear we have had less colds in our home.
- Lysol your shoes when you come in the house. I got this one from my mom, Michelle. Shoes should come off once we get in the door, but often they just don’t. Lysol helps kill germs our sons may track on the rugs and floor.
- Wipe down all handles and banisters daily (door, toilet, garbage can, stove, fridge, etc).
- Don’t forget your car! Wipe down the steering wheel, inside and outside car handles, dashboard buttons, etc).
- Talk to your kids about keeping their hands not only out of their mouth, nose, and yes. From my SIL Stephanie. My son is starting to lose teeth so he’s constantly got his hand in his mouth trying to wiggle his loose teeth. Realize it’s tempting, but they need to know the importance of keeping their hands away from their faces.
- Have your children write to their family. This is a time of isolation and loneliness for many elderly adults and those with compromised immune systems. Having our children design cards not only gives them something creative and constructive to do, but will really brighten a loved one’s day. Oh and it gives them an opportunity to learn how to properly address an envelope, which many kids don’t know how to do nowadays.
- Give yourself some grace. From my friend Tina. Remember these changes are a lot! Right now the work/life balance is non-existent. You are called to be an employee, mom, teacher, wife and a family referee (all in the confines of your home). If you need an hour to go work out–take it. Need a 30 minute nap? Take It. Don’t feel bad if homeschooling isn’t going the way you envisioned. You also don’t need to be turning out 3 course, gourmet-plated meals. You are trying your best. You are holding down the fort and you are doing a great job.
If you have some tips on how to keep your home virus-free please let me know. Stay safe and strong. CC