After almost a year of living during a pandemic, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel! Thanks to the rollout of vaccines for the coronavirus, we finally can hope to return to a state of normalcy by the end of the year. But it is important to continue to exercise caution and maintain safety protocols even after we get vaccinated. Here are some tips for staying safe and healthy during this uncertain period:
- Keep masking up! While we may be frustrated with wearing masks (not to mention, having to remember to bring them everywhere we go!), it is important to keep masking up when around others or in public, even after you have been vaccinated. The vaccines are not 100% effective, and it is possible that we can pass the virus on to other people even if we ourselves do not get sick. It is better to act on the side of caution, especially when we are around our elderly loved ones and other vulnerable people, so let’s keep our masks on for now.
- Maintain social distancing. We are all eager to see friends or family members, especially ones that we may not have seen in months, but it is probably best to hold off on throwing a big party for now. As more of us get vaccinated, it will be safer to finally see our friends and family in person, but we should still exercise caution, maintain safe distancing, and limit the amount of people that we have contact with.
- Keep those health protocols going! While following certain health protocols was advisable pre-pandemic, we all became more vigilant once COVID hit. Now that we are regularly practicing activities such as frequent and thorough hand washing, using hand sanitizer, and avoiding unnecessary touching, these habits should become a regular part of our daily lives for optimal health and disease prevention.
- Retain positive quarantine practices. While having to quarantine, isolate, and stay indoors, we all developed certain routines or habits to help us cope. Some habits were not so healthy, but we also incorporated some healthy changes to our lifestyles, that we can and should continue once quarantine restrictions begin to loosen. Maybe we spent more time taking walks outside and enjoying the outdoors. Maybe we cooked at home more, tried new dishes, and ate healthier. Maybe we discovered new hobbies or interests or honed our skills. And maybe we routinely checked in with people in our lives, through phones calls or Zoom meetings. Perhaps the forced distance from our loved ones made us appreciate them even more. Once we can start socializing again, it is a lovely idea to continue regular calls or video chats to check in with our loved ones, especially those who are not nearby, or can’t get out.
- Respect everyone’s comfort levels. Remember that, even after being vaccinated, people will still be concerned about getting sick. Respect their concerns. We do not need to cajole people into going out or doing anything they are not comfortable with. It is a good idea, before seeing anyone in person, to establish what all parties feel comfortable with. You may think Aunt Jean is going overboard if she comes to your house and keeps a mask and gloves on the whole visit, but if it keeps her healthy and feeling safe, do not judge her. Appreciate everyone’s concerns and efforts to stay healthy and safe and enjoy the opportunity to visit.
While we are all eager to resume our lives, it is still important to be smart, safe, and vigilant of health risks. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. Continue to engage in healthy practices such as mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing. Keep up with beneficial activities such as exercising, reading more, and eating better. And above all, remember how important our loved ones are and what a privilege it is to have them in our lives.
This article originally appeared on the Connie Rosenberg & Associates Care Management website.