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Albright College

TIP OF THE MONTH
November

Social Distancing

In response to the threat of a pandemic event, new ideas and words are popping up in the hope of decreasing the spread of infection. Social distancing is one of these ideas. The fear surrounding a pandemic event is the potential lag time for vaccine development and/or the potential unavailability of antiviral medications. In the event of one of these potential situations occurring, it is imperative that people practice measures to keep themselves as healthy as possible.

In the event of a pandemic event, please adhere to the following precautions:

Social distancing at home and at work

  • Social distancing refers to methods to reduce the frequency and closeness of contact between people
  • Generally, social distancing refers to mass gatherings of people, but the same methods can be applied to home settings

Social distancing methods include:

  • When around people who are coughing or sneezing, keep your distance by at least one meter, or three feet
  • Avoid meeting people face-to-face: use the telephone and NetMeeting as much as possible
  • Avoid any unnecessary travel
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Avoid public transportation
  • Avoid crowded restaurants
  • Stock up on basic items to minimize exposure to public places
  • Shop at smaller stores with smaller lines and fewer people
  • Shop at off hours to avoid large crowds
  • Arrange to pay bills by mail, online or over the phone
  • Cancel or postpone family gatherings, outings or trips
  • If you cannot avoid crowds, minimize the amount of time you spend around people

Personal hygiene

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or surgical mask if you are coughing or sneezing
  • If you don't have a tissue or mask, cough into your upper sleeve, not your hands
  • Put your used tissues and used masks in the trash
  • After coughing or sneezing, wash your hands with soap and water, or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand cleaner

Monitor your health

  • Monitor your health if you are traveling to, or are working in, areas affected by avian influenza
  • The onset of a fever is an important symptom of influenza

Home isolation

  • A person may be placed on isolation if they have an infectious illness such as influenza
  • Isolation means staying at home, not going to work, school, or other public places, not meeting with other people
  • While at home, the person who is sick should stay isolated or away from other members in the household as much as possible

How long do I have to stay on home isolation?

  • The flu is contagious for 24 hours before symptoms start and for about three to five days after the symptoms start. You will likely be on home isolation for about seven days or until symptoms completely disappear
  • Healthy household members should remain on home isolation as well until at least three days after the symptoms in the sick person go away

How can I prevent the spread of infection while under home isolation?

  • The sick person should stay in one room with the door closed to separate themselves from healthy family members
  • The sick person should cover their coughs with tissues or a surgical mask
  • Wash hard surfaces and items handled by the isolated person thoroughly with soap and hot water or a disinfectant
  • Discourage any visits from people who do not live in the house
  • All members in the household, including the sick person, should wash their hands frequently
  • Keep personal items, such as towels, separate from the rest of the family
  • Do not share eating utensils or drinks
  • Dishes and laundry should be washed with warm water and soap as usual

Family safety

  • Household members should stay away from the isolated person as much as possible
  • If direct contact is necessary with the isolated person, stay at least one meter (three feet) away
  • Healthy household members should remain on home isolation until at least three days after the symptoms in the sick person go away

Please remember this information is not to scare you, but to make you better prepared if or when a pandemic influenza outbreak occurs.

Have a safe and healthy November.

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