April 3, 2020
| Created by Harmons

Six feet to safety

It’s hard to stand six feet away from someone and engage in any kind of communication. That’s not how we’ve been taught to behave, you feel like you’re yelling, and it can seem like your exhibiting poor manners. But it’s time to accept this is essential for staying healthy and is our new reality, at least for now.

So why do we have to stand six feet apart?

When someone coughs or sneezes, small drops of liquid are sprayed out. If these droplets contain the coronavirus, six feet is just far enough to be out of reach. This is called the “breathing zone.” If you are less than six feet away from someone else, you are in their breathing zone, inhaling and exhaling the same air. If you’re breathing the same air, and they have the coronavirus, you will breathe it in. It’s that simple.

What if you’re standing five feet away?

It’s not far enough. See “the breathing zone” above. It is essential that you distance yourself from others by at least six feet.

What about the scientific theory that coronavirus is airborne? How does six feet keep me safe from that?

While there are still many unknowns about coronavirus, and in particular COVID-19, the fact remains that most transmissions occur at close range. If you are out where other people are congregating, whether you are an essential worker or doing necessary chores like grocery shopping, you can protect yourself by staying six feet away from others, washing your hands often and thoroughly, using hand sanitizer with at least a 60 percent alcohol level, and using disinfecting wipes on surfaces others have touched BEFORE you touch them.

Why can’t we shake hands or touch other people?

The coronavirus spreads via respiratory droplets. If someone with the virus sneezes into their hands, everything they touch from that point forward is contaminated. At this time, we still don’t know how long the virus that causes COVID-19 lasts on surfaces. It may be present for a few hours up to several days. Washing your hands often and thoroughly, for at least twenty seconds with warm water and soap, breaks down the virus and destroys it. When you rinse your hands, all the microorganisms that have been damaged, trapped, and killed by soap molecules are washed away. In cases where you can’t wash with soap and water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Again, your goal is to kill the virus. Soap and water are its greatest enemy.

Why can’t I touch my face?

Touching the mucous membranes on your face with your dirty hands allows germs that cause respiratory infections to enter the body. We touch our faces a lot. It’s time to stop.

Can you sum this up?

Absolutely. To avoid getting sick, stay at home. If you are an essential worker and can’t stay at home, or need to get necessities, stay six feet away from other people. Don’t breathe the same air they are breathing. Disinfect surfaces before you touch them. Use hand sanitizer if you don’t have access to soap and water. Don’t touch your face. And after you have been out, wash your hands thoroughly using soap and water.