Much has been written about what is permitted during the coronavirus, but the list of what shouldn’t be done is just as long. There are a number of must-avoids for children and adults, and here are 10 reminders:
Don’t watch an excessive amount of TV news. “The World Health Organization recommends watching the news no more than once or twice a day,” Dr. Jacqueline Jones said while calling from her New York practice. “It’s good advice since it’s not good for anyone’s anxiety to hear the same reports about how many people are dead and how many are sick. Children do not need to be engaged in watching the news all day.”
Avoid being sedentary. “Just because we’re told that we need to keep a social distance and be inside doesn’t mean you can’t exercise for a half-hour,” licensed professional counselor Michelle Salerno Sigmund said while calling from her Philadelphia office. “Go take a jog, ride a block, or go for a long walk. There’s no need to sit in a chair all day. Kids want and need to be active.”
Forget about normalcy for now. “Alleviate the perception of how we lived our lives every day before the coronavirus altered the way we live,” Salerno-Sigmund said. “We have to let go of expectations. People keep thinking about when we will go back to normal. We’ll get there, but it’s not something that we should think about every day. People talk about it every day, but we need to stay in the now. People are optimistic and people are pessimistic. What we need to do is just live in the moment.”
Do not wash fruits and vegetables with soap. “There’s a video out there that’s gone viral that instructs people to wash their fruits with soap,” Dr. Gregory Charlop said while calling from his Pasadena, California, office. “That’s the last thing you want to do. Soap leaves a residue that will upset your stomach and cause GI problems. We are not supposed to ingest soap. Continue to eat fruit and vegetables after you wash them with cold water.”
Don’t visit the grocery store often, and avoid quickly perishable food. “Try not to go food shopping every other day,” Charlop said. “Make a list and try to buy everything you need if you can once a week or longer. Also, fruits and vegetables help protect our immune system. However, some fruit doesn’t hold up as well. For instance, buying strawberries again and again might not be wise. I strongly suggest buying fruits and vegetables that last such as broccoli, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.
Don’t break the 6-foot distance rule. We must keep our distance to halt the spread of germs. “It’s so important to keep the social distance,” Salerno-Sigmund said. “We sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to a child in front of his house with friends the other day, and we watched some of the people just congregate closer and closer. Don’t do what other people or families do. Follow what the CDC instructs.”
Avoid a chaotic lifestyle.Jones says it helps to keep a routine. “Children shouldn’t sleep until 1 in the afternoon, eat junk food and avoid exercise. Don’t act like we’re going to be quarantined forever. Work out at home. Make it fun. Don’t turn into a couch potato.”
If your child is on medication, don’t fail to administer the drugs. “Kids who require medication to control their ADHD may need it now more than ever,” Dr. David Hill said from his Wilmington, North Carolina, office.
Don’t skimp on sleep. “I get it, people are staying up late, and they’re worried,” Charlop said. “They’re concerned about employment. People are thinking about how they’re going to get back into the work force. They’re stressed. That hurts your immune system. A study showed that those who sleep less than 6 hours a night are three times as likely to contract coronavirus. A small difference in sleep, 6 to 7 hours, makes a huge difference.”
Stay away from areas where coronavirus hides in plain sight. According to the WHO, the virus is estimated to survive on metal, glass and plastic surfaces for up to nine days.