The details are changing faster than we can even write them down. The numbers are increasing. And people are unsure of where exactly to trust their information. Social media feeds everywhere can talk of little else: COVID19 – the Coronavirus. So, what, exactly, do we absolutely know to date?
We know that publishing current numbers of confirmed infected people here in Canada as well as around the globe is a little useless due to the fact that by the time we finish writing this blog article, the numbers will have increased exponentially. And besides, we already know the numbers – we keep getting updated almost by the minute thanks to social media and the ever-present news.
With that in mind, let’s focus on what we know in terms of what measures the Canadian and provincial governments’ have put in place. We know that Canadian residents currently abroad have been urged to return home as borders may soon close. We know that Quebec has ordered that all bars, theaters, gyms, spas close down. We know that the province of Alberta has ordered all daycares and schools to close. We know that governments are taking this pandemic VERY seriously. And we know that we should all be doing our part to be socially responsible as well.
But being socially responsible is coming at a very high price for many Canadian families. With daycares closed, many parents find themselves in a very difficult position. And with so many businesses being shut down, many Canadians are suddenly finding themselves without a paycheck. These measures could have dire consequences on individuals, families, communities, and the national and global economy.
In this blog, we have put together a comprehensive checklist for Canadian families to help find ways to mitigate and manage the issues that this pandemic and these government measures may cause. By following the items listed below, parents and family members can help slow the spread of the disease (or “flatten the curve” as has become the new buzz word), and can overall protect themselves, their family and their community to the best of their ability.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF: A CHECKLIST
Just like we have all learned during the classic airplane safety information, they always stress the importance of, in case of emergency, helping yourself first and then helping others after. It is the same during this pandemic. It is important to make sure that you are taking care of your own health, otherwise how can you effectively take care of someone else’s? Please note that this DOES NOT mean running to the grocery store and hoarding all of the toilet paper and hand sanitizer! In fact, please do not do that! It simply means to make sure that you are looking after your own health and wellbeing as well as looking out for others. Here are some easy things that you can do in order to make sure you are following all of the recommended measures to keep yourself protected and healthy.
- WASH YOUR HANDS: The best joke surrounding this that we saw was: “wash your hands as if you just finished cutting some jalapenos and you have an itch in your eye”. It is odd that something as simple as washing your hands has to be repeated over and over and still feels too simple to be effective. But it is effective. Very effective. Wash your hands constantly. And wash your children’s hands constantly. This is the number one way to try to avoid getting sick.
- COUGH RESPONSIBLY: Never has something as simple as a cough been so scary! But COVID19 has definitely turned a cough into something to protect to the best of our ability. How can we do that? Try to always have tissues on hand since coughing directly into a tissue, and throwing it immediately in the trash, is the best way to cough or sneeze. If you do not have access to a tissue, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow. Never cough into your hand as that is one of the fastest ways to spread the disease.
- STOP SHAKING HANDS: The year 2020 will forever be known as the year we changed the traditional greeting. Instead of shaking hands or kissing cheeks, a simple wave or “hello” is the best recommended way of greeting friends and even family members.
The above-mentioned points are the best protection against getting sick in the first place however, here are some top tips if you start to feel sick or suspect you might be infected:
- ISOLATION: If you feel even slightly sick or suspect you MIGHT be infected, you should immediately go into self-isolation. This means you should not go to work, should not take public transportation, should not receive any visitors. Each province has set up a system (usually a phone number to call) if you have any kind of symptoms. They will instruct you on the best course of action. But the main point is DO NOT go to the hospital unless you have difficulty breathing.
- STAY ALONE: If you have symptoms resembling the symptoms of COVID19 (cough, fever, chills) and you live in a home with other family members, it is important to self-isolate in a room by yourself. Choose a room in the house in which you can close the door. Stay isolated, even for meals. It is the best way to protect the others in your home.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY: A CHECKLIST
If you are the head of a household (parent or other caregiver), these are very uncertain times. We have all seen the news outlets with chaos in the grocery stores and we have all heard contradictory information regarding what we should be stocking up on and what is unnecessary. So how can we properly plan for what is to come? Here is an easy-to-follow checklist on what, as head of household, you can do to help your family.
- MAKE A PLAN: Discuss what is currently going on with all family members, even children. And discuss a plan of action in the event that someone, including yourself, were to get sick. Who would take over? Discuss a designated “sick room”. Discuss meal plans and back-up meal plans. Being properly prepared is the best way to avoid fear and uncertainty from setting in.
- FILL YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS: Something that is often overlooked is to make sure that all of your prescriptions are filled and up-to-date. If you get sick, it is not the time to be trying to get your prescriptions filled and picked up.
- STOCK UP RESPONSIBLY: The key word here is “responsibly”. That does NOT mean panic buying and hoarding toilet paper. But having a regular amount of dried foods, pastas, and canned soups and things is a good idea. This way, if you were to fall ill, there are still easy, healthy things that can be made and prepared.
- DISINFECT REGULARLY: Disinfecting things like door handles, cupboard doors, sinks and faucets, and other highly “touched” household areas are the best way to keep your home germ-free and avoid spreading any illnesses to the other family members. Teach your children to disinfect and wipe down any areas that they have used.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR COMMUNITY: A CHECKLIST
As important as it is to take care of ourselves as well as our family, we are also called upon to be socially responsible in the wake of this pandemic. This means doing our best to protect not just our family unit, but also those around us and the community in which we live. It is all of our responsibilities to help “flatten this curve”! Here’s how you can do your part:
- STAY HOME: The absolute number one thing that governments of all levels are trying to stress is for each and every person to simply STAY HOME during this crisis. The less contact you have with other people, the less the disease can spread. And the less it spreads, the less propagation. And the less propagation, the less stress on our health care systems. Staying home might not be the most interesting thing to do but, if you look at the alternative situation, it is definitely the most socially responsible decision that each and every one of us can make.
- RECOMMENDED DISTANCING: If you absolutely MUST go out (for groceries or medications or other), it is recommended that you employ the recommended two-arms-lengths distancing from others. Visit grocery stores or pharmacies at off-peak hours in order to limit the amount of people in each area. And then make sure to never stand too close to someone – even when in line to pay at the cash.
- SPREAD THE WORD: Let others in your community know that you are supporting this crisis management by spreading the word. The best way to get an entire community on the same track is to become a social influencer. Tell others on social media that you are doing your part and they will want to do theirs too. We can come together as a society to fight this global disease.
Here in Canada, it is impressive to see how everybody is coming together to fight this unseen enemy. Provinces are rapidly putting enormous and impressive emergency measures in place and communities are getting on board. We are seeing the best in humanity as we join in solidarity. We can all do our parts to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities free of COVID19.