Hygiene Measures To Follow in the New Normal

Dr Titty Mary Thomas, Specialist Family Medicine, Aster Clinic - JLT

As the lockdown is easing across geographies and we are gradually heading back to normalcy, we should keep a few things in mind. Even if you're not feeling anxious about going back to work, you may still be concerned about how you can continue to stay safe after what, for many it has been several weeks or months at home.

Returning to the workplace after such a long lockdown will be a big step for many people. Whether the ‘new normal’ will become more permanent is not clear at this time. However in the short-term we can all take a few simple steps to better prepare for our return to work, and help keep you, your colleagues, and your families safe.

Avoid large crowds during your commute:  A major concern about people heading back to work is the potential for crowds to congregate on public transport, which could potentially result in the further spread of COVID-19. However, in practical terms, it is highly unlikely to both maintain social distancing and ensure everyone can take the bus or metro when they need to. If possible, consider alternatives such as walking or cycling to work. Even cutting public transport from a small part of your journey can be useful. If you have no way of getting to work other than via public transport, do what you can to work outside the usual ‘9 to 5’ to reduce your exposure to others as much as possible.

Safeguard your personal hygiene: The first thing to remember is that the same personal hygiene measures that were encouraged during the lockdown will still apply and as long as the pandemic continues. Wash your hands as frequently as possible, particularly after you touch door handles and handrails or visit public restrooms. Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth throughout the day too, and keep hand sanitizers on you at all times. Wipe down your desk, keyboard, and monitor with an anti-bacterial wipe regularly. Ideally you should do this every time you leave and return to the building.

Consider Investing in Your Own Personal Protective Kit: You may want to consider creating your own personal protective kit going forward. This could include a face mask, anti-bacterial hand gel, surgical gloves, and wet wipes and tissues. If you are unable to purchase a medical mask, a face covering such as a scarf is a good alternative. Make it a habit to wear a mask and gloves when traveling to and from work, especially if you will be taking public transport.

Shopping Habits

  • Do not pick up different items from shelves to compare them. Instead observe and read labels first and only pick those items which you may actually want to put in your basket. Once you take it, try not to keep it back on the shelf.
  • Avoid searching for items in an offer basket (eg: basket for towels, handkerchiefs, soft toys etc)
  • Avoid browsing and touching garments in a store. Observe and finalize the clothes by visual inspection and avoid any trials in-store
  • Post shopping, follow sanitization protocols with newly purchased items such as cleaning their surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes or washing newly purchased garments before wearing them.

Program your brain to feel safe and calm when you step outdoors and follow guidelines to keep the virus at bay.

Aster’s Serenity App can act as your friend in coping with extreme anxiety and stress.