Friends vs. Foes: Know the Difference to Protect Yourself Against COVID-19

“Friends, how many of us have them?

Friends, ones we can depend on

Friends, how many of us have them?

Friends, before we go any further

Lets be friends”

Whodini’s 1984 #4 single on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart questioned what a friend is. The group goes on to say that some use the word in the wrong way and even the dictionary doesn’t know the true meaning of the word. Perhaps, many of us don’t know the meaning of friends either.

Friend vs. foe is swirling in the news as America begins to open back up for business. Restaurants are now able to invite diners inside to enjoy their meal. Shoppers are filling retail outlets again. Nonessential travel has resumed. Slowly more and more people are breaking out of their homes to once again explore the world around them. As we roam around we must remember what’s our friend and what’s our foe to stay healthy and safe.

Friend: Personal Protection Equipment – Before you step out of the house make sure you have your PPEs - masks, and gloves. All throughout the air are droplets that come from our respiratory system. The droplets carry viruses, like COVID-19, in the air. Coming in various sizes, smaller droplets can travel far and stay in the air for quite a while. Mask help to block out droplets from entering your body.

N95 respirator masks give the highest form of protection using a tight seal around your mouth and nose to keep the smallest of droplets out of your system. This is why it is vital for those working in the medical field who are in very close proximity with infected patients to have the highest grade protection. Surgical masks, like N95 respirators, are made of special material but they don’t have a tight seal around the mouth and nose. However, they are effective and offer good protection from droplets in the air, just not the smallest ones like the N95 respirator. Cloth masks only block large droplets and have no seal around the mouth and nose. But with the addition of a pocket to add a filter the protection level up the cloth mask is raised.

Friend: Social Distancing – Staying six feet away from another person helps in the fight against the coronavirus by limiting person-to-person contact. Staying at home and avoiding large crowds are the best ways to social distance to stop the spread of the virus.

Friend: Washing your hands for 20 seconds - COVID-19 lives on surfaces for a prolonged period after an infected person has touched an object. As you navigate in public areas and touch various things you may, in fact, touch something that has the virus on it. If the next thing you then touch is your mouth then you have probably just infected yourself. Prevent that from happening by constantly washing your hands for at least 20 seconds to rid yourself of the disease on your skin. You may also use an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.

Friend: Self-Isolation – Although self-isolation can be lonely it is highly recommended if you come in contact with someone who has or was exposed to COVID-19. Especially since some people have the coronavirus and don’t know it because they don’t exhibit any symptoms.

Friend: Quarantine – Although quarantine and self-isolation are similar they are not the same. Both mean to avoid contact with others but quarantine is specific for those exposed to a person with COVID-19 but have not had a positive diagnosis. It is advised for these folks to stay away from others for at least 14 days to stop the spread of the coronavirus in its early stages.

With friends comes enemies or foes. Foes, in this article, are the things that don’t prevent COVID-19 from attacking your body.

Foe: Believing that COVID-19 won’t infect you - So unless you have been living under a rock for the past month or so you already know COVID-19 does not care about age, race, titles, income status, gender, or anything. Everyone is fair game for catching it and dying from it. Walking around in public, especially in highly populated areas, puts you at risk and that of your family. So if you go out without your ppes and come in contact with someone with the coronavirus then go home, guess what? You just brought the virus inside your home and have endangered your entire family.

Foe: Not getting tested when symptoms arise – Whenever you get sick, there is a feeling you get that says something is not right. You might try to wave it off as nothing but it could be the beginning stages of the coronavirus. Fever, dry cough, tightness of chest, lack of taste are some of the most common symptoms people with COVID-19 have. Don’t try to play doctor and Google your diagnosis. Follow your instinct upon the onset of symptoms and call your doctor to get tested or go to one of the many drive-thru sites that don’t require calling ahead. Sure it could be something other than the coronavirus but won’t you sleep better knowing if it is or not.

Friends are there to help you and not hinder you. Foes can be the fuel to ignite a downward spiral for you. Don’t put your life or that of others in jeopardy. Know the things your friends are and those that are not. Friends and foes can’t mix and mingle. “Before you go anything further” remember your friends.

We are all in this together. Keep it safe!