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For the past month, coronavirus cases have increased significantly.  Florida has implemented restrictions on visitors to assisted living facilities and nursing homes to protect fragile citizens.  However, these restrictions do not protect our elders and medically frail loved ones that live in the community.

In this time of increasing coronavirus cases, there are  precautions we must take to protect ourselves and our loved ones. As a law firm dedicated to helping all Floridians, but especially elders and people with disabilities, I encourage you to read on to learn ways to best protect yourself and those around you.

By now we are all familiar with the most popular precaution which has been shared by the various health authorities around the world:

Make sure that you properly wash your hands!

What does it mean to “properly” wash your hands? This means meticulously cleaning your hands for at least twenty (20) seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.  You may find it interesting to learn that, according to the FDA, “the benefits of using antibacterial hand soap have not been proven.”  Washing your hands remains one of the best preventative measures that you can implement to safeguard yourself and your elder loved ones.  In addition, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) washing your hands helps to kill viruses that may be on your hands.

To prevent or reduce the spread of coronavirus, the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also recommend the following:

Wear a mask.  Cover you mouth and nose with a cloth face covering or mask.  To reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.  The can reduce the spread of respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice (e.g., while shouting, chanting, or singing).

Maintain physical distancing or social distancing. Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) 6 feet distance between yourself and others who are not part of your family unit.  This one is especially important because it is easy to breathe in the droplets of someone who is suffering from the COVID-19 virus. This is also true for most viruses, like the flu.  There are activities that can help families manage physical distancing and reduce the social isolation of elderly loved ones.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Remember, especially for our younger loved ones, touching many surfaces can cause you to pick up viruses. WHO states that, “once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene.  Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Limit interactions with those who may be infected. Although social isolation can be hard, try to make informed decisions about where you need to be. Routine medical check ups can be done in many cases via telemedicine.  If not, maybe postpone it until the virus is under control as very ill people could be in the waiting room.

Another important precaution that can help everyone stop the spread of the coronavirus is to stay home if you feel unwell. Further, if you have a fever, cough and/or difficulty breathing, do not wait to seek medical attention. Be sure to call your healthcare provider in advance, if you can.

The last tip we will share is also extremely important as we continue to battle this deadly virus. Make sure that you stay informed and follow any advice given by your healthcare provider and other experts like the CDC or the WHO. Do not rely simply on the news or secondhand information.  Be cautious of misinformation and conspiracy theories.  Staying up to date can arm you with the right information to make the best decisions for yourself and your elder loved ones.

We must all work together to stop the spread of coronavirus and protect our family, friends, colleagues, and clients.  Know that we are here for you, both now and in the future. Do not hesitate to contact our law practice to learn more about how to protect yourself and the elders you love from the legal pitfalls that may occur during this pandemic.