Staying safe when you are an essential worker

May 14, 2020

We all have had to make rapid adjustments to our lives since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Many of us have turned our homes into offices, classrooms, fitness centers, playgrounds, and movie theaters all at once.

But there are many people who are not afforded the luxury of being at home all day. They cannot work from home because they are ‘essential workers.’

Essential workers are people who continue to keep our economy moving. They are the grocery store clerks, postal workers, maintenance workers, transportation workers, delivery transportation workers, healthcare workers, first responders (police, fire, and EMS workers), and so many others.

In many cases, both parents in a household are essential workers. They somehow have to educate their children at home then go outside to work and support the rest of us. A difficult situation, indeed.

These workers want to be safe in their workplaces and feel safe about coming home to their families. They also need to take care of their mental as well as their physical health. If this applies to you, here are a few steps to take to remain safe if you are an essential worker:

Being safe at work

When arriving at your workplace, make sure you keep as many of your personal items away from the public, including your phone. Place them in a work locker or employee storage area to lessen the opportunity for contamination.

• Whenever you use your phone while at work, be sure to wash your hands before, and sanitize it at the end of the day.
• Wear a face covering whenever in contact with others and if you interact with the public regularly, keep the face covering on.
• Throughout the day, if possible, stop briefly to assess how you feel emotionally. If you’re feeling anxious, take a few deep breaths to calm yourself down. If you need to, say a prayer or meditate. Do whatever you need to make it through the day.
• To go the extra mile, check with your co-workers to make sure they’re feeling okay. Talk openly about your feelings and encourage them to do the same.
• When it’s time to go home, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly.

Being safe at home

When you come home, you want to make sure you leave germs at the door.
• Have a spot at the door designated for your items you want to wipe down. Leave wipes or other cleaning items near the door to wipe down items that need it.
• Have a pair of house shoes that you can change into.
• Immediately wash your hands.
• Sanitize your phone with alcohol wipes or disinfectant wipes.
• As soon as you’re inside, change your clothes and put them inside a garbage bag and wash them immediately in the warmest water according to the manufacturers label.
• It is recommended by some healthcare professionals that you immediately take a shower to make sure all germs are removed from your body.
• Another facet of your overall health during this pandemic is to make sure you do basic care of your body by eating a balanced meal, stay hydrated, and get 7 – 8 hours of sleep. Doing these things as well as eating immune rich foods will contribute to good health and help you maintain a strong immune system to fight off any pathogens.
• When you’re home, find time to do what makes you happy. Listen to music, watch a movie, or play games with the family. Do whatever it takes to keep your mental, physical, and emotional self intact.

Essential workers are vital to getting all our lives back to normal, or our ‘new’ normal.

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