As we continue to maintain “social distance” and stay at home recommendations, we are equipped with updates and educational information. Although there are no parameters as to when our current situation will end, I wanted to post a recent interview and facebook post from our own Beth Squires who is a professor at NIU and has a masters degree in public health. She talks about actions we can take to protect ourselves and others. Included are CDC recommendations for our mental health during this time. I pray you will continue to heed these recommendations not only to protect yourself and others but to ensure that the risks our first-responders, healthcare professionals and essential workers are taking is substantiated.

Beth Squires Facebook post:

“Public Health Beth here!

I have been fortunate in that I’ve completed a lot of interviews about COVID-19 this past month. I had another interview today where we talked about personal protection. I figured my FB family and friends would appreciate the advice I shared during the interview.

First, follow the CDC recommendations found here:

Currently, you do not need to wear a mask if you are not showing symptoms when you are out in public. But if it makes you feel better then wear a mask. What you want to avoid is relying on the equipment to protect you. Believe it or not, the following three things are best to prevent the spread of COVID-19 so be sure to continue to do the following if you do wear a mask, and gloves if you want, while out:

– Wash your hands
– Disinfect surfaces
– Practice social distancing and don’t spend much time outside your home. If you do go out, keep least six feet away from others and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

As the virus is new, we are learning more every day about it. Check the CDC’s COVID-19 webpages for updated information on how to protect yourself and your family.

In the meantime, if it makes you feel better to

– wear a mask when out
– wear gloves when out
– change your clothes after going out
– wipe down all products purchased after shopping

then do so for your peace of mind. The evidence isn’t there yet  that all of the above is effective but if it makes you feel better then do it. Your mental health is important!

Please keep the N95 masks and other high tech personal protective equipment for the health care professionals. They are in direct contact with sick patients every day. They require that amount of protection as they are way more exposed than those who aren’t in health care.

So, in the meantime,

– Stay home as much as possible
– Keep at least six feet away from others when you are out in public
– Wash your hands frequently
– Disinfect common surfaces

As a health educator, I feel my duty is to educate the public as much as I can during this pandemic.

Remember to keep calm and wash your hands!!!”

Beth Squires, MPH, MCHES®
Program Coordinator
Public Health Program | School of Health Studies
Northern Illinois University