With the coronavirus pandemic the talk of the town at the moment, you – like most people – have probably found yourself recently obsessing over hand sanitiser much more than you ever thought possible.
However, while washing your hands regularly, wearing a face mask and using hand sanitiser are all incredibly important, we’re here to ask: are there any other things you could be doing that unintentionally put you at risk?
Well, we have some bad news – certain small behaviours that you don’t even realise you’re doing could actually increase your likelihood of catching coronavirus, without you even knowing.
But, here’s the good news. We’re here to point those things out for you, so you can change your habits to lower your potential risk.
Join us as we run through five seemingly innocuous habits that could not only unintentionally increase your risk of catching coronavirus, but spreading it too.
Not getting enough sleep
Everyone knows how beneficial getting a good night’s sleep can be. Not only does it help substantially improve your mood, but it also keeps your immune system ticking over as well.
However, during the lockdown, finding sleep has been somewhat difficult for a number of people, mainly due to the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the global pandemic. And since you can’t exactly rush out and get a nice, relaxing massage just yet, it’s important to take steps to counteract your insomnia yourself.
Exercising regularly, avoiding screens before bed and ensuring your room is as dark as possible are all important things to do to reduce your anxiety and ensure you get a good night’s kip. Otherwise, your health could only suffer as a result, increasing your COVID-19 risk.
Growing your beard
While you may have been tempted during the lockdown to grow out your beard, channelling your inner Chuck Norris, you could actually be adding unnecessary risk to your daily life.
The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, beards tend to be fairly unhygienic. Without proper cleaning and maintenance, they can catch food, debris and bacteria which can then carry on into your mouth, increasing your risk of becoming ill.
The second reason is due to protective face masks you’ll need to wear in UK shops from 24th July onwards. If you have a beard or any kind of facial hair, the mask will not be able to make a tight seal around the face. This, in turn, renders the mask almost useless, exposing the individual to the very thing they’re trying to protect themselves from.
Being careless with your phone
If you are one of those people that never know where they last left their cell phone, this one is especially applicable to you.
Phones tend to go anywhere and everywhere – whether it be your pocket, bedside table, or pretty much any surface you choose to rest them on. However, herein lies the problem.
Since the coronavirus can live on pretty much any surface when you place your phone down, you are, in effect, giving the virus the opportunity to come into contact with your phone, which you’ll then pick up and handle.
Therefore, as difficult as it may be, try to get in the habit of keeping your phone on your person, to avoid putting yourself at potential risk.
Tearing open packages
While you’ve been stuck inside, the chances are pretty high that you’ve been spending a lot more on online shopping recently than you used to.
Whether it be takeaway services like Deliveroo or package delivery services like Amazon, each time you order something and it arrives at your door, you’re putting yourself at potential risk.
This is because the packaging and contents of the parcel will have likely been handled by a number of people before it arrived at your door. And, with that, you won’t have a clue who those people are, how their health is, or whether or not they’ve come into contact with coronavirus.
To give yourself the best chance of staying as risk-free as possible, make sure to open these packages with caution. Use gloves, hand sanitiser, the whole shebang, and make sure to wash your hands both before and after you open the package.
Touching your face
After a long, hard day of working from home, it’s all too easy to simply rub your eyes or collapse into your hands for a couple of minutes.
However, try not to if you can help it, as this could increase the chances of something transferring into your body.
Given the number of surfaces, many of us will come into contact with throughout the day, even the most avid hand-washer won’t be able to avoid touching their face every now and again, but it’s important to be aware.
If you suddenly feel an urge to scratch your face or move a stray hair, try to either forget about it or handle it in as hygienic a way as possible.
Image credit: Freepik
James Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.