COVID-19 has turned our world upside down, and we now find ourselves living in unique times. This pandemic has affected us all in some way, and it’s hard not to focus on the uncertainty and fear that naturally goes with it. Especially as most of us still need to do our shopping, catch public transport or go to work. Here are six health tips on how to stay well.
Got symptoms? Use the healthdirect Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptom Checker to see if you should seek medical help or get tested.
While the world is faced with a pandemic, if we all work together we can help ourselves, our loved ones and our community stop the spread and stay healthy.
Reduce your risk with these 6 health tips
COVID-19 won’t last forever and Australia has already experienced solid success in flattening the curve. Here’s how to keep that momentum going:
- Be well-informed and aware.
- Practice good hygiene.
- Maintain healthy habits.
- Be mindful.
- Practice physical distancing.
- Stay virus-free at work.
Now let’s dive into the details on each of these six health tips.
1. Be well-informed and aware
The first of our health tips is to be informed. Sounds like common sense, right? But everywhere you turn, there’s a tonne of information. Daily updates are splashed across our papers, there are special news broadcasts every day (and night), with ‘expert opinions’ popping up left, right and centre.
Not only can all this information leave you feeling overwhelmed, but it’s hard to know what to trust.
To stay healthy during COVID-19, you need reliable sources that can keep you on top of updates relevant to your state and territory.
Here are a few essential government resources that provide hype-free information about COVID-19, including what the current situation is and what’s happening where you live:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) current situation and case numbers
- COVID-19 information by state and territory
You should also consider installing the following apps to keep you informed and protected:
Related: How to stay healthy during a crisis
2. Practice good hygiene
Viruses like COVID-19 spread from person to person through droplets that someone with the virus sneezes or coughs out. If you’re standing too close to this person, you could become infected if the droplets enter your body through your eyes, nose or mouth.
To stay healthy during COVID-19, it’s essential to practice good hygiene, especially when you’re out and about.
You can do this by:
- Regularly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Keeping alcohol-based hand sanitiser handy for when soap and water isn’t an option
- Not touching your face
- Covering your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing
- Disinfecting high-touch surfaces and objects in your home
- Using tap and go instead of cash to make payments when you can
By learning these six new habits, you can greatly increase your chances of avoiding the virus.
3. Maintain healthy habits
The impact of COVID-19 on our physical and mental well-being makes doona days look really good right now.
It’s important to be active and eat well so you can stay healthy during this pandemic.
A healthy diet will support a strong immune system, improve your overall well-being and help prevent disease. Enjoy a wide range of nutritious foods, like:
- Whole grains
- Lean meats
Limit caffeine and alcohol and instead drink plenty of water.
If you’re a regular gym-goer, a boot camper or you crave some other regular fitness class, you’ll definitely be feeling a bit lost. And if you’re not any of those things, now’s a good time to start doing some form of exercise.
It helps to reduce stress and keep you from going stir crazy if you’re cooped up at home.
If you can’t deck out your house with a full-blown home gym, get creative. There are plenty of alternatives out there, like:
- Walking twice a day
- Doing bodyweight exercises
- Taking advantage of free online classes
- Making home gym equipment from common household items
Your exercise routine doesn’t have to be fancy — just regular.
4. Be mindful
If you’ve got pre-existing medical conditions, don’t get complacent. Our elderly community members and those with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and people who are immunocompromised are more likely to contract a serious illness, such as that caused by COVID-19.
Stay healthy by:
- Keeping on top of your medications
- Taking preventative measures
- Seeking medical attention if you feel unwell
Even if you don’t have a pre-existing medical condition, your mental health could be impacted.
Stay connected with family and friends. If you’re struggling to cope, talk to them or seek extra support by talking to your GP or calling:
- Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
- MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78
- Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800
One easy way to stay connected is through regular video chats using apps like Zoom video conferencing.
5. Practice physical distancing
As we start to see states and territories ease restrictions, keep practising physical distancing to stay healthy and keep the spread of COVID-19 low.
Wherever possible, keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others when in public.
You should also:
- Avoid physical greetings like handshaking, hugging or kissing
- Travel at quiet times to avoid crowds
- Avoid large public gatherings and crowded spaces
- Follow the relevant state and territory restrictions for visitors in your home, while still keeping your distance
- Stay at home if you’ve got any cold or flu symptoms and contact your GP
Most shops and workplaces, as well as cafes, restaurants (as they reopen) and public transport, will have protocols in place to help you maintain a safe distance. But it’s up to you to protect yourself.
For more advice, you can contact the Department of Health Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.
6. Stay virus-free at work
If you’re an essential worker, or you’re returning to work as restrictions ease, it’s vital to stay healthy and virus-free.
By now, your workplace should have a plan in place to protect workers and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Make sure to read this plan and stick to it.
The Department of Health recommends the following to protect yourself, your co-workers and your customers:
- Avoid non-essential meetings or hold meetings via video or phone conferencing
- Postpone large meetings
- Hold essential meetings outside in the open air if possible
- Promote good hand, sneeze and cough hygiene
- Keep alcohol-based hand rub in reach
- Eat lunch at your desk or outside instead of in crowded lunchrooms
- Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that many people touch
- Open windows or adjust air conditioning to increase ventilation
- Limit food handling and sharing of food in the workplace
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Promote strict hygiene among food preparation (canteen) staff and their close contacts
If you have to travel to work using public transport, here are a few quick health tips:
- Keep your distance from others at your stop or platform
- Sit away from others
- Travel outside peak times if you can
- Use cashless payments
- Carry and use alcohol-based hand rub
- Consider walking or cycling for part of your journey
Although it takes a little extra effort, these strategies will pay off in better health for all of us.
Let’s beat this together
We all want to stop the spread of COVID-19 and stay healthy. The measures that are in place are for our own protection and to keep our most vulnerable loved ones and community members safe.
Follow the six tips above to prioritise your physical and mental well-being. And remember, we all need to band together to support each other and do our part to defeat this pandemic.