A Colorado registered nurse has seen what the coronavirus can do from pretty much the beginning. She travels the country to train nurses joining the pandemic and even took some shifts as a floor nurse in New Orleans.
"If you haven't seen it up close, it's hard to understand how truly devastating and horrific COVID-19 can be and how quickly it can overwhelm medical facilities," Amy Duran wrote for "Reader's Digest." "This virus likely isn't going anywhere until we have a vaccine and/or herd immunity. That's why it's so important to practice prevention and mitigation tactics—not just now, but even after the lockdowns end."
Although Duran says she won’t live her life in fear, there are some things she’ll continue to do even after lockdown ends. These decisions are based on the probability she’ll be working with COVID-19 patients, but it’s advice many might heed.
Wearing a mask
Duran expects to be exposed to the coronavirus until at least the end of the year and possibly for two years. “So to reduce my chances of unintentionally spreading the virus, I’ll wear my surgical mask any time I’m out in public and will continue to do so until I’m no longer exposed to it at work,” she wrote.
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“As long as I’m still being exposed to the virus, I’ll continue to not share utensils, cups, or drinks.” Duran points out this is a good rule for everyone, since kids and teens can be “super-spreaders” of the coronavirus without showing any symptoms.
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Duran wrote she will “routinely disinfect doorknobs, the fridge, light switches, and any high-touch areas” from now on. “A fear of germs doesn’t stop me from doing things but it has definitely changed my cleaning habits. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to look at a restaurant table again without wondering if it’s been disinfected.” To that end, Duran said she’ll always have disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer with her.
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Getting enough sleep
"One way I'm really trying to improve is getting enough sleep every night as it helps reduce stress and strengthen my immune system," Duran wrote. Nearly 77% of Americans say they have lost sleep amid the coronavirus outbreak. Numerous studies have shown how sleep affects your health and why you need to get enough.
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Before the pandemic, "I felt that people were generally friendly," Duran said, "but the way the community has shown up for me and other health care workers has fundamentally changed me for the better." Like Duran, most of us are realizing how much we need our communities, whether than means friends, neighbors or churches.
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