Reader Comments

Coronavirus tips: 16 practical ways to help stay healthy when going out in public

by Wilburn Turgeon (2020-05-09)

95px-Swank_2.jpgid="article-body" class="row" section="article-body">

Social distancing is important in the grocery store, but so is how you shop.

Sarah Tew/CNET

For the most up-to-date news and boyfriend jeans information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.
Coronavirus lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease around the world, surely changing how you'll go to restaurants, malls and hair salons when cities reopen. But whether the shops around you are open or closed, the risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 won't go away until we achieve herd immunity or access to a vaccine. There are currently more than 3.3 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, and over 1 million of those are in the US.

That brings us back to the measures we can take when leaving the house and coming within spitting distance of people outside the household. Since this new strain of coronavirus is highly contagious and can be passed along by those who appear asymptomatic, it's important to stay alert.

CNET Coronavirus Update

Keep track of the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are smart, sound tips to follow when you do need to leave the house to maintain your health and sanity and to run critical errands. And here's the current understanding of coronavirus when it comes to food delivery and mail, such as Amazon packages.

Read more: 6 things not to do when coronavirus quarantine and lockdown end

It's important to reduce your risk of exposure when you shop.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Don't get too comfortable
Globally, the number of coronavirus cases and yes, deaths, is going up, not down. Plenty of world and local leaders warn that, while some growth rates may seem like they're slowing in pockets, a second wave of infections could be even worse. 

"If we all pull back, we could see a second wave that makes this pale in comparison," said Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom on April 21.

Even as some countries and states reopen nonessential businesses and public spaces, it's important to remember first and foremost that the coronavirus thread hasn't disappeared. Just because restrictions are lifted, doesn't mean you won't acquire COVID-19 or pass it on to someone else. Here are five things you should think twice about doing when lockdown and quarantine end.

Read more: Wine, beer, alcohol delivery: How to get alcoholic beverages delivered to your door

Wearing a face covering is mandatory in some places, and recommended by the CDC when social distancing isn't possible.

James Martin/CNET

Wear a face mask in public places
Six weeks ago, wearing a face mask when going out in public was purely voluntary. In many places, it still is, though the CDC now encourages it as a voluntary health measure in areas with high transmission rates, and in places where people can't maintain social distancing of six feet. The recommendation applies to face masks and coverings you make at home or buy. 

Some counties and cities are making the order mandatory -- typically when you gather somewhere around other people, like in a store, yoga pants and not while you're alone in your car, or taking a walk where keeping six feet from others is easy to do. At the very least, it's a good idea to keep a face covering on hand if for no other reason than to avoid a stranger's side eye or a lecture at the store. 

Here's what you need to know about homemade and other nonmedical face masks and coronavirus prevention.

SummerDance/iStock/Touchups by Sarah Tew/CNET

Don't make shopping trips a source of entertainment
The point of shelter in place and stay at home efforts is to keep you from transmitting the virus to others or acquiring it yourself. Yes, that can be boring, but the list of COVID-19 symptoms is long and frightening for people who have it (like my cousin), even if they do recover, which can take weeks. 

The bottom line: You don't want this, and you want to limit your exposure to others. So shop swiftly and efficiently. Now's the time to get what you want and get out, not to browse aisles as a way to pass the time. Entertain yourself these other ways instead. 

Read more: What to expect when coronavirus lockdown ends and cities reopen

Now playing: Watch this: Contact tracing explained: How apps can slow the coronavirus


Enough with the fingertips: Use your knees, feet, elbows and knuckles instead
If you're still pressing buttons for walk signs with your fingertips, stop. Any time you have to open a door, push a button, pull a lever or digitally sign for something, use a different body part instead. You have plenty.

For example, I'll often tap out a PIN code or make a selection on a digital screen with my knuckle instead of the pad of my finger. I'll push open a door with my shoulder, hip or foot instead of my hands.

You can usually flip on a light switch or sink faucet with your elbow or wrist, and patagonia jacket you can wrap the sleeve of your sweater or jacket around the handle of any doors you have to physically pull open. It's easy enough to toss your clothing into the wash later rather than expose your skin now, especially if the chances you'll use your hands to touch food items or your face is high.

Read more: Need a pulse oximeter? These models are in stock starting at $24