Do you have COVID-19 fatigue? I admit, I may be a titch fatigued. You can only repeat the same thing so many times and hope for different results – basically Einstein’s definition of insanity. Wear masks, wash your hands, keep 6-feet apart. Did I say wash your hands?
This week was back to school for many kids in North America. I may have been a bit of a Drill Sergeant with my son, making him repeat until I was confident he understood how he was to take off his mask, what he was to do with his dirty mask and what he was to do before he touched his new clean mask (sanitize his hands, if you didn’t guess). He came home with 3 wet masks, used the hand sanitizer, but did not use the facial wipes and complained that his face felt gross. Some of his classmates only had 1 mask. Wearing 1 mask per day to me is like leaving your baby in a wet diaper. I would highly recommend frequently changing masks throughout the day, especially if you have teens with hormonal skin that is prone to acne.
This week also signifies a momentous event in infection prevention. On September 8, 1854, John Snow removed the handle from the Broad Street pump in conducting some of the earliest epidemiologic work and stopping a Cholera outbreak. This serves to remind us of the impact that infections, outbreaks, and pandemics have had on our life – 166 years is a long time, yet today we still have issues with water quality and its impact on human health.
November signifies another important step in infection control and public health. Florence Nightingale showed up in November 1854 with a group of nurses to support wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. Appalled by what she saw, she brought food from England, cleaned up the kitchens, and she and her nurses started cleaning up the hospital wards and kitchen, believing the main problems were diet, dirt, and drains. So began the understanding the need to distance beds (aka physical distancing to stop transmission of infections) and sanitation through the understanding that a clean environment and clean linens would also help stave off infections.
As we enter yet another month of the pandemic, do not let your guard down. Follow the recommendations our Public Health experts are providing. Wash your hands often. Wear a mask. Keep your distance and - if you’re like my son who questions the cleanliness of his school’s bathroom because boys can be messy - increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection at home, at work and at school. My son has a stash of disinfectant wipes he packed so he could clean if things look gross.