Our healthcare workers are one of our most important human resources at this time. As the virus continues to spread so rapidly, the risk of infection among healthcare workers rises. So the question is, how do we ensure the safety of these protectors who fight bravely on the frontline for us in a time when we need them the most?
In this article, we will explore a few ways in which these heroes can protect themselves.
Preventative tips for health workers as they fight the Coronavirus
No matter what the exposure risk is, all workers should practice washing their hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds. On occasions where soap and running water are not available, using an alcohol-based hand rub with 70% alcohol does a great job of cleansing hands. Wash hands that are visibly soiled (United States department of labor, 2020). Handwashing is a basic yet one of the most important ways of preventing the spread.
Soap can cause a discontinuity in the fat that protects the virus; it also causes the skin to become quite slippery and so with adequate rubbing, the elements are lifted off and rinsed away (WedMD, 2020).
We all tend to touch our faces, but for a healthcare worker at this time, that is a NO-NO! “Data published by epidemiology and virologic studies provide evidence that COVID-19 primarily is transmitted through respiratory droplets, by direct contact with infected persons, or by contact with contaminated objects and surfaces” (WHO, 2020). Hence why our healthcare workers especially, should avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
Other measures that should be employed in preventing the infection of our Corona heroes include but are not limited to; teaching and encourage patients, visitors, and others to practice safe respiratory etiquette. By simply covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing is an effective preventative method due to the transmission mode of the virus. Also because it is not always practiced, reinforcement is good (United States department of labor, 2020).
Identify Your Risk Factors
Identifying your risk factors is of paramount importance. Some individuals such as older adults and those with underlying conditions are at a higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19. In this case “knowledge is power”. Why? Because knowing your status will allow for an even greater approach to self-protection. Whether it is an intentional or sub-conscious act, it proves to be an effective way of getting healthcare workers to apply extreme caution when working (United States department of labor, 2020).
The mental wellbeing of healthcare workers is vital to maintaining the well-needed healthcare services during this pandemic. For that reason, workers must have a positive mindset toward the workplace. To ensure a healthy mental state is achieved and maintained at such a critical time, healthcare workers can apply effective coping tactics. For example, getting ample rest, eating healthy and balanced meals on time, participating in physical activity, and having daily communication with loved ones (WHO, 2020). These strategies boost mental and physical capabilities and provide other areas of focus for the individual. Also, having strong social support helps to motivate the workers to continue serving on the frontlines. Just knowing that they are appreciated and supported creates a positive drive in them to do more.
Healthcare workers can also assist their colleagues by lending a helping hand in challenging situations to prevent one from becoming overwhelmed (WHO, 2020).