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Let's talk about social distancing

Aiesha Banks • Mar 26, 2020 at 10:30 PM

As health officials in the U.S. work to slow the spread of COVID-19, they've asked Americans to do one crucial thing: practice social distancing.

Everything as we know it looks different. Restaurants are offering takeout and delivery service only. Schools are closed, and workers are staying at home. Sporting events, concerts and festivals have been canceled.

The CDC defines social distancing as remaining out of congregating settings, avoiding mass gatherings, maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible.

But why?

COVID-19 is quickly spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Older adults, pregnant women, and people who have chronic medical conditions are at higher risk than a healthier, middle-aged person.

If an outbreak happens in our community, the length of time it will last is unknown. To my younger generation: You’re young; you may feel fine and hate being cooped up. It's seriously essential to believe that we're all part of this, and you don't want to be the connection in this chain that continues the chain of transmission that could result in somebody getting sick.

Essential facts you need to know

What's the difference?

Social Distance — Low-risk exposure, shows no symptoms of the virus, and conditional release under temporary supervision

Self- Quarantine — High-risk exposure, shows no symptoms of the virus, and directed to stay in separate rooms or to stay home, away from other people for 14 days

Self-Isolation — Has been exposed, symptoms of the virus, and restricted to a specific room away from people and animals

Self-quarantine and self-isolation are specific forms of social distancing. Social distancing looks a lot like self-quarantine or self-isolation, except there's no particular time frame involved.

What can I do while social distancing myself?

Stay active

Exercise outdoors — Consider hiking a new path or trying a water-based activity like kayaking, if the weather permits. Take your fitness into the fresh air outside.

Improving your general fitness — Many fitness-related instructors and organizations are currently offering free online workout classes and routines for new users as a way to inspire new activities. Rethink recess for the children-physical activity is an essential part of the school day and helps children not only with fitness but with mental focus and concentration as well.

Stay in touch with your fitness community — Consider online challenges for steps such as Healthy Kingsport's Walker Tracker, or stationary bike rides, or even run a "virtual race" together and compare times. For more information about Walker Tracker, visit the Healthy Kingsport website: www.healthykingsport.org.

Try new things out of the norm

Cooking healthy meals — Never had time to cook and prep for a healthy meal? Social distancing yourself will allow you to stay home more, which will enable you to have time to prepare a healthy meal. Many stores in our area offer curbside pickup, meaning you can order your grocery online, and they will bring the grocery to you free of charge. Check out the Healthy Kingsport Facebook page for easy, healthy recipes.

Eating out — Many restaurants are offering curbside delivery food, which is terrific and allows small businesses to remain open and serving. Check out the Kingsport Strong Distance Socially Support Locally Facebook page. Use this page as a community resource to find a local business who are offering delivery, curbside pickup or online gift card options.

Life without its interaction can be trying, and currently, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, so the best way to avoid the illness is to avoid being exposed to it.

What does this mean?

It would be best if you were cautious about the number of people you interact with and how you interact with them. You can still go out in your yard, enjoy a walk, go for a hike or ride your bike. Instead of eating in a restaurant, cook a healthy meal at home or order takeout/delivery from a local business. Get your steps in by cleaning/sanitizing items in your home or catching up on all that laundry. Use this time to start an at-home exercise routine and get active.

Keeping our readers mentally active is our goal! Healthy Kingsport’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages will be ramping up the effort to help people that are staying at home. Our social media platforms will also educate you to stay active, be engaged and eat well.

Healthy Kingsport is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a community that actively embraces healthy living by promoting wellness, enhancing infrastructure, and influencing policy. Aiesha Banks is the Executive Director of Healthy Kingsport. She can be reached at abanks@healthykingsport.org.

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