By Rebecca Fending
As COVID-19 cases rise throughout the country, including Florida, some of us may find ourselves being caretakers for infected loved ones. This means that as you help them, you need to take care of your health at the same time, which can be difficult. There are several precautions you can take in order to ensure your health while being a caretaker, as well as ensuring the healing of the person (or people) under your care. Here are some simple tips on how to protect you and your home:
Keep Yourself Healthy
The key to maintaining your health during this time is by either eating your vitamins, including vitamin D and C, taking vitamin supplements, and following all CDC suggested hygiene protocols. The best way to keep yourself from contracting COVID-19 is by regularly washing your hands, keeping a clean living environment, and giving your immune system the tools it needs to perform. This includes taking regular breaks to breathe fresh air and take time for yourself, as well.
Keep it Clean and Sanitized
The best way to make sure your home is clean for you or anyone else living there is to both clean and sanitize. This means recognizing the difference between the two words: “cleaning” means decluttering surfaces and areas in order to regularly disinfect them. “Sanitize” is specific to the cleaning method of disinfecting surfaces, typically with a chemical cleaner, that will remove or destroy bacteria and viruses.
Focus your sanitization efforts on areas known as “high touch“. Examples of high touch areas are any and all knobs or handles (e.g. door handles, bathroom knobs, toilet handles, etc.), toilets, chairs and tables, and beds. These objects and areas tend to be heavily used while someone in the household is sick, both by the infected person and the caretaker.
Be sure to regularly wash linens, towels, and clothes in hot water. Washing with hot water helps to destroy bacteria and viruses that tend to congregate on high traffic items such as those previously listed.
Help Your Loved One Get Better Sooner
Ultimately, the goal of a caretaker is to nurse the person back to health. For older people, it’s crucial that this happens in a timely manner. One of the best ways to do so is to prepare a healthy diet for them during their sick period. This can either look like healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts, or it can be a soup chock-full of fresh, vitamin-filled ingredients.
For instance, chicken noodle soup is a must-have while sick, but how can you jazz it up to make it healthier? One easy way to do so is by creating a mirepoix with fresh carrots, celery, and onion. Another great way to both enhance the flavor and nutritional value is by including a small amount of turmeric. This spice not only creates a deepened flavor profile, but it helps combat inflammation in the joints and connective tissues on the body, therefore making it a great natural painkiller, as well.
Another ideal way for caretakers to maximize their person’s recovery time is by allowing the person about 10 minutes in the sun every other day. Short increments of sun exposure is known to have incredible benefits for the human body. Not only does it aid in producing serotin to fight against depression, but it gives your immune system a natural boost of vitamin D.
Being a caretaker can be a stressful but rewarding job. The keys to keeping yourself at your healthiest and helping the person you’re caring for heal are vitamins, sanitization, and strong hygiene habits. Following these three elements will make your caretaking experience all the easier.