As the vaccine rolls out and people build their immunity, we can celebrate. The vaccine brings us closer to normalcy again, but we have a transition period, too. You and your family need to know how to best handle this period of time.
As the disease COVID-19 spread, the news media focused on the death toll and dour effects of the required isolation. You heard nothing of the positive effects of this time and the pandemic. This set us up in doom or gloom mode. Now, we have hope for a brighter future, and we need to re-center and examine reality as we readjust to being out in the world.
- Some people like isolation. The news media harped on the extroverts who fell into depression because they could no longer hang out with friends and family on a daily basis. Just as many introverted people exist and for them, the pandemic made their natural inclination to stay home and enjoy their hobbies privately perfectly acceptable. Suddenly, the natural inclination of the introvert was encouraged. As you and your family return to normal behavior, recognize and respect that each person is different. Some people want to stay home and do their own thing while others want to go out every night. You do not need to bring anyone “out of their shell” but do need to respect that they differ from you. They may rather read a book while you party and both options are perfectly acceptable.
- Working from home increased productivity. All involved in business — employees, employers, independent contractors, vendors — expect the productivity levels to remain at the increased level. For that reason, many companies have now implemented remote work programs to allow their employees to work from home, so they can maintain the new increased productivity.
- Get vaccinated. This requires two shots timed about two weeks apart. Make your appointment and stick to it. As we enter the last stages of the rollout, we need everyone to get vaccinated. While we have already experienced the birth of the first human immune to COVID-19, we cannot consider ourselves safe until we all receive both doses of the vaccine. We need each person’s participation in the vaccination effort to reach herd immunity levels.
- Expect to continue consistently washing your hands. When you cannot wash your hands, use hand sanitizer. Most public places have deployed sanitizer dispensers to help people remain safer. This helps maintain your health and that of your children. Younger children get colds more often than adults. On average, children catch between six and eight colds each year. Washing your hands more often can reduce exposure to cold viruses, too.
- You’ll keep sanitizing items like packages. We shipped approximately 13 billion parcels in the US in 2018. That number increased remarkably due to the pandemic since we shipped nearly every item including clothes and groceries. Sanitizing packages and groceries can ensure maximum cleanliness. Check the procedures of each store before you shop online, so you buy from establishments that use safe handling procedures.
- Keep wearing masks in certain public spaces. This applies to attending concerts, sports events, grocery stores, restaurants, and especially hospitals. In the latter location, masks increase in importance due to the commonality of infections. Not only do 1 in 20 in-patients develop an infection related to their hospital care, but 12% of these infections prove fatal; nearly 90,000 people die annually from these infections.
- Consider visiting a therapist if you experience problems adjusting to a normal life. Some people will seem like the lead character of “Monk” suddenly. They will avoid shaking hands or touching. These might be people you previously knew as “huggers.” Recognize that they’re having a tough time adjusting to the idea of being safe again. They may not understand the science behind vaccines, or they may have undergone a mental illness while sequestered. They may not be able to rationally process that they are safe once vaccinated. Respect that and don’t feel put off when they do not want to shake hands.
We can return to normal life, but it takes time. Help keep your family safer and healthier by adhering to these essential tips for reacclimating now that the pandemic nears its end.