How to live in the “new normal”

Edwards Elmhurst Health asked in its Healthy Driven Blog, “When will it be safe to go back to life as we used to know it?”

That, among other questions, remains unanswered. Experts say it could be years before we can resume our normal activities without masks and hand sanitizer at the ready, though they don’t know for sure.

In the meantime, how do we help prevent ourselves or our families from getting sick?

Fortunately, there are temporary steps we can take to keep ourselves healthy and still enjoy life.

The most important things to remember, regardless of activity, are that we should strive to maintain a 6-foot distance between ourselves and people we don’t live with, wear a mask when we can’t maintain that distance, continue being vigilant about hand washing, clean frequently-touched surfaces and use hand sanitizer.

One warm-weather tip: Be mindful of your mask. If you notice your mask (either surgical or cloth) is fully saturated or damp, put on a new mask. Dispose of your saturated surgical mask or launder your cloth mask.

Can I get a check-up or my annual health screening?

Yes. There is no reason to delay medical care out of fear of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19 — in fact, you shouldn’t delay care that can keep you healthy. Edward-Elmhurst Health is scheduling health screenings and our doctors are seeing their patients again — in person, via video appointment and by phone. There are a number of measures in place to ensure patients can visit their doctors’ offices safely and minimize their risk, including deep cleaning, staggered appointment times, entrance screenings and socially-distanced waiting areas. Read our Safety Commitment.

Can I have my friends over for a cookout?

It depends. If you can keep the group small, stay outside and maintain a 6-foot distance between yourself and your visitors, it would be safest. Making the cookout bring-your-own-silverware/paper plates/sides would be even safer. Sharing food increases the chance of transmission.

Can I go to the beach? What about a pool party?

Again, the issue is social distance. Experts say it’s unlikely that anyone will get sick from pool water or even lake or ocean water. The danger lies in getting too close to other people. So — is the beach packed with people on a hot day? Probably not a great idea to lay your towel down in that crowd. The pool is hopping and it’s tough to keep your distance from all the kiddos? Also not a safe place to be for now.


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