• April 2, 2020

STONE: 5 Essential Items for COVID-19 - Odessa American: Levi Stone

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STONE: 5 Essential Items for COVID-19

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Posted: Sunday, March 22, 2020 4:30 am

COVID-19 has created a world of heightened awareness and an emphasis on personal protection in mitigating the spread of this highly contagious virus.

Aside from COVID-19, other illnesses such as influenza, the common cold, and conjunctivitis (pink eye) make us susceptible, especially when we have a lapse in maintaining standard precautionary practices to prevent their spread.

And, since these illnesses are communicable (spread from one person to the next), having the following five items on hand will improve your chances of staying healthy, and more importantly, protect those most vulnerable in our community.


Considering the number of times a day you’re touching everyday items such as opening doors or using the phone, there are limitless opportunities to pick up a virus or bacteria.

For this reason, proper hand hygiene is essential. Hand washing is and remains the most effective method in preventing the spread of illness. Washing hands with soap and running water routinely and often, especially after touching surfaces, is a must.

However, with most of us on the go or in places where soap and running water may not readily be available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers (in most cases) are an effective alternative. Choose varieties with at least 60 percent alcohol (ethyl) and one that you enjoy using, because bottom line, the more you use it, the more effective it is in preventing illnesses from spreading.


Similar to the importance of frequent and proper hand hygiene, the same principle is shared among the countless items we share among public places. Shopping carts, stair rails, elevator buttons, bathroom door handles, phones, and light switches are just a few, but you get the idea of just how many items we share with others.

Add a contagious person handling any combination of these items, before you touch them, and you just might find yourself among the sick, as well. By stashing a pack of antimicrobial wipes with your everyday essentials, it allows a quick and convenient way to disinfect these surfaces before you have anything to do with them.


To be honest, many people do not exercise proper “cough and sneezing etiquette.”

Far too often people tend to cough and sneeze into their hand only to touch everything afterward or worse — into the open without any covering at all.

Coughs, but especially sneezes, can produce a turbulent cloud of infectious turmoil for those who cross its path. Use tissues to capture a cough or sneeze and promptly discard it in the trash. If you’ve used your last tissue or forgot them at home, the next best option is to bend your arm to your nose and mouth and sneeze or cough into the bend of the elbow.

On a side note, if you have children, please teach them this early in life so it will hopefully carry over into adulthood.


There are many reasons why proper hydration is important in defending your body against foreign invaders.

One, in particular, is it optimizes the body’s ability to produce and circulate immune system cells, such as white blood cells and lymph, to fight foreign invaders within the body. A steady intake of water also keeps nasal passages moist to help trap and get rid of tiny particles carrying illness causing bacteria and viruses from entering the body. Make water your beverage of choice this time of year.

Keep it with you and consume often throughout the day. Avoid overconsumption of alcoholic or caffeinated drinks since these types of beverages can dehydrate your body.


Seeing your healthcare provider early in the season will ensure your vaccines, particularly for flu and pneumonia, are up to date.

Timing of these vaccines is important to make sure the protection they provide coincides with the months these illnesses are most prevalent. While it’s never “too late” to get these vaccines, your chances of not falling ill are improved the earlier you take them.

However, if you do come down with symptoms, contacting your healthcare provider early can lead to a faster diagnosis and prescribing the proper therapy to treat. Influenza, for instance, can be treated and its duration shortened by taking antiviral medication but must be started within two days of symptoms first appearing. Whether having their business card handy or saved into your phone, quick access to call and schedule an appointment is a huge plus.

With COVID-19 now confirmed in the Permian Basin, inevitably cases are likely to rise. This only reiterates the fact that every single one of us has a responsibility in maintaining the standards put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which is: wash your hands; avoid touching your face (eyes, nose, and mouth); avoid close contact with people who are sick; exercise distance (at least 6 feet) between others; if you’re sick STAY AT HOME; cover your cough by coughing into your bent elbow; clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces; and limit travel.

If you are at home, or have to leave the home, keeping the aforementioned five essential items handy will aid efforts in stopping COVID-19 in its tracks.

Odessa, TX

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