Written by Dr. Kathryn Fiddler, MS, RN, NE-BC, Vice President, Population Health
I have four grandchildren. I love them dearly, and I miss them. They live in the Netherlands, and I haven’t seen them in months, except for FaceTime or Zoom. They, too, have quarantined, done remote home- school and have limited travel. I have learned a lot from them, though. They have had fun. They have spent time outside, in the fresh air. They hike, ride bikes and take long walks.
I am hopeful, as we head into summer, we here in Maryland and those across Delmarva can continue to watch our COVID-19 volumes decrease to zero. If we are to survive the summer and prevent continued infection from COVID, I think we should all think more like children.
First, wash your hands. Kids love water and love to spend time in the bathroom, washing their hands. We have them wash their hands when coming in from outside, before eating and at bedtime. Preventing COVID means we need to do the same: Wash our hands. When we come home, go into work, visit a friend or family member, handwashing for at least 20 seconds works on germs. Sing “Happy Birthday” (it’s a 20-second song). Use a paper towel or a clean hand towel to turn off the faucet when you are done. This seemingly simple task is one of the key things we can do to prevent the spread of COVID and many other viruses.
Second, keep six feet apart from people not in your family and friends circle (those you see and interact closely with daily). Kids aren’t often quick to walk up to strangers. We share with them the need to avoid strangers, which includes avoiding germs like COVID. If at the store or a large gathering, keep your distance from those you don’t know.
Third, wear your mask! Kids love to dress up. My grandchildren have princess outfits, cowboy outfits — they even have a nurse outfit I got for them. We need to embrace our masks. Although uncomfortable, they do a great job in preventing all of us from spreading germs when in a community location indoors. Masks should be worn to cover your mouth and nose, and they should be washed daily. There are lots of creative people making masks. Seek them out and see if you can get a few extra masks. Handkerchiefs and bandanas work well, too.
Fourth, my favorite: Get outside and enjoy fresh air. My grandkids love walks, bike rides, swimming and all sorts of outdoor activities. The fresh air outdoors is one of the best ways to avoid germs. The air movement prevents the COVID germs from sticking around. Fresh air is also good for our soul, our psyche, and our mental health.
We have done a great job of reducing COVID infections on Delmarva. Let’s all continue to take simple steps to protect our loved ones: Wash our hands, practice physical distancing, wear a
mask and get outside to keep COVID away. Harness the inner kid inside of you this summer and stay safe!