Essential workers are a category of people that are keeping our world running right now. They are not celebrities or sports stars, but instead the people working the grocery store floors, the cashiers at Target/Walmart (any many other stores!) and those behind the wheels of big rigs.
Many many others are running this country while healthcare workers do their part to keep us healthy and attempt to nurse those who have gotten sick back to health. We are truly finding out who the important employees are in this country right now.
Keep Personal Items Away From Work Areas.
Make use of the personal lockers that you were given when you first started your job. You know, the place that’s covered in cobwebs because nobody ever uses them? Now is the time to start. Leave your personal items in it. That way, they stay away from where others could potentially come into contact with it. It reduces the likelihood of the items becoming contaminated.
Always, always, wash your hands before you pick up your phone if you’ve been out on the floor and interacting with the public. While working on the front lines of this virus, make sure that you’re remembering to disinfect your phone as well!
Keep Germs Out Of Your Home
(Paragraph quoted directly from OSF Healthcare: https://www.osfhealthcare.org/blog/essential-workers-how-to-protect-yourself-and-your-loved-ones/)
Before you enter your home, follow these steps.
- Have a pair of house shoes by the door to change into, and set up a place to isolate any items that cannot be washed and you do not want to bring indoors.
- Immediately remove your clothing and place it in a specially designated hamper by the door. Use a garbage bag to line the hamper, and wash the clothes immediately when you get inside using the warmest water temperature recommended on the clothing label.
- Wash or sanitize your hands and wipe down your phone.
- Some health care professionals suggest showering immediately upon returning home, as well, to make sure no dangerous germs are still on your body.
Taking Care Of Yourself
You should be doing this on a daily anyways, but especially right now. Getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercising are crucial steps to keeping our bodies in tip-top shape. It helps to keep our stress levels low, but it also helps to boost our immune systems.
Some of us are putting in longer hours than ever. Especially those in healthcare and those working the front lines as grocers, cashiers, stockers and other essential employees. (Kudos and many THANKS to all of you for going out and doing what needs to be done to keep our world running in this crazy time!) Keeping ourselves fit reduces burnout which can make us far more susceptible to getting sick.
Wash Your Hands
Battleground number one. WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS! It’s not hard. The hottest water you can handle, antibacterial soap, and long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself at least 2 times. Don’t wash just your hands though. Wash your arms, all the way up to your elbow as well.
Roll those sleeves up and get those hands clean! This is the most important of all the health tips.
Keep Your Mind Healthy
We absolutely have to pay attention to our mental health at this time. This type of pandemic is a new experience for most of us and fear is spreading like wildfire. We need to be cautious of how much we watch and listen to the news so that we’re not overwhelming ourselves.
Anxiety for many is at an all-time high. Recognizing and understanding this is vital. We must find ways to disconnect before we lose our minds.
This one isn’t one of the crucial health tips, because coronavirus isn’t said to live long on fabrics, but it’s just one more safety step. Removing your clothes, and putting them directly into the washing machine, prevents any exposure from someone touching them. It contains the germs straight to the washer, where they can be killed with hot soapy water.
Clean Work Spaces
Make sure that all common areas are wiped down and sanitized regularly. This includes offices, bathrooms, and shared equipment, along with door handles, tables, and counters.
Take advantage of any personal protection equipment your job offers. Use gloves to protect you from any unknown germs coming in from customers. Use a mask to help prevent breathing in the infected air. Wipe down all surfaces that are frequently touched, such as counters, registers, credit card machines and check writing stands. Keep your belt clean, if you’re a cashier.
If you choose to use gloves, you should be changing them between each customer. I realize it’s time-consuming, but if you don’t, you’re just transferring anything that might be on the first person’s groceries to the second persons. While, yes, you’re protecting yourself from everything by wearing those gloves, you’re only transferring from one person to the next if you’re not changing them.
Keep a small bottle of sanitizer at your work station, or in your pocket. Make sure that you’re using it between every customer if you’re working directly with other people, and at least every half hour or so, if you’re unable to wash your hands. Sanitizer should only be used as a back up if you’re unable to wash your hands.
Pay Attention To Your Own Health
Probably the second most important of all the health tips. Pay attention to how you personally feel. If you’re feeling ill…don’t go to work. Simple as that. The CDC recently changed their buildings for returning to work, and they go as follows:
According to The Washington State Department of Health:
- Take temperature: The employee must take their temperature every day before starting work. The employee needs to go home if they have a fever.
- Wear a face mask: Wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure. This can be a face mask issued by the employer or, if these are not available, the employee can wear a cloth face covering.
- Social distance: The employee needs to maintain six feet of distance between themselves and other people as work duties permit in the workplace.
- Clean workspaces: The employer should ensure all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, and shared equipment are cleaned and disinfected routinely.
Do you have any additional tips for essential workers right now? What steps are your employers taking if YOU are an essential employee? Let us know in the comments!
Featured Image Credit: https://www.osfhealthcare.org/blog/essential-workers-how-to-protect-yourself-and-your-loved-ones/
Lucky mom of three beautiful children ages 9, 11 & 12. I graduated with a double bachelor's degree in 2015 from Ashford University. One in Journalism and Mass Communications and the second in Public Relations and Marketing.