By Dr. Michele Dikkers, Physician at Cornerstone Family Practice and GMHC, Chair of Clayton County Board of Health
As the wildfires burn in California, its residents stand helpless, doing what they can to stop the fires and their progression. While the cause of the fires is largely due to the heat and dryness, some were started accidentally, like with the pyrotechnics used for a gender reveal party.
Everyone was there to have a good time. No one intended the fire to start, but once it did, it was out of control.
No one intends to get COVID-19…No one intends to give COVID-19 to others. But it happens.
We get asked all of the time, “Why don’t you ever get sick? You work with sick people all day long, how do you not get what everyone else has?” The simple answer is we wash our hands frequently. We wash them when we walk into the room to see a patient, we wash our hands when we finish examining the patient and we wash our hands before we eat. And now with COVID-19, we wear masks. Yes, we’ve been exposed, and not just with patients, and wearing masks have made a difference.
Staying safe takes thought, at least until it becomes habit. Wearing your seatbelt. Wearing safety orange when hunting. Wearing ear protection when operating noisy equipment. Wearing a welding helmet to protect your eyes. Each time, you need to think about reaching for the seatbelt, your coat, etc. You need to think about when you will need to wear each item.
Being mindful of your surroundings and your actions is key to survival. Looking both ways when you cross the street. Knowing how deep the water is before diving in. Knowing how cold it is outside before leaving the house and dressing appropriately. These are all important.
Now, since COVID-19 has become part of our life, we have a whole new check list. Mask—check. Hand sanitizer—check. Six feet—check.
But when do we wear the mask? Whenever you are outside of your home. Put it on before you get out of your car. And wear it until you either are seated at your destination, six feet away from others or once you get back into your car. Once you are back in your car, it is also a good time to use your hand sanitizer.
Be mindful of your actions.
Just as wildfires can be prevented, spreading COVID-19 can be prevented.
Only you can prevent COVID. Wear a mask.