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SIMPLE STEPS TO SAFEGUARD YOURSELF AND OTHERS DURING COVID-19.

We all know many things about this destructive COVID pandemic. Listed below are maybe things you already know, or know and may not have given importance to, or don't know at all. Whichever category you fall in, please go through these points and let’s all work towards fighting the virus.
Without any confirmed cures/preventing vaccines available in the market, an effective way to counter the fast-spreading virus is with an ‘all as one, one as all’ approach. Meaning each and everyone will have to contribute in fighting this pandemic. Safety starts with you and how you respond to your environment.
1. STARTING POINT: WE NEED TO REALISE, ANYBODY CAN CONTRACT COVID-19.
There can be a feeling that you may never contract COVID-19, and only people around you are vulnerable to it. This is not true, anybody can get infected by the virus. You never realise it, until it happens to you. So, the first step to countering the spread of the disease, is by accepting that you can be vulnerable. Only then you would give importance to the safety measures, and follow them. If one takes precautions, they stand a better chance to fight it. That should be the spirit of engaging with such a pandemic. It is important not to panic, but to act proactively.
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2. WASH OR SANITISE YOUR HANDS REGULARLY
Wash your hands regularly with soap/handwash and water or a good alcohol-based hand-rub. Always keep a hand sanitizer with you at all times. If there are kids or elders at home, also teach them the importance of germ-free hygiene and help them stay safe too.
Carry a Sanitizer, every time you step out of your house, it will come in handy in public places, where you may not have a sanitiser or soap/water. Use sanitizers in regular intervals, like every couple of hours or when your hands may have come in contact with a contaminated surface. If this is made a habit, and becomes second nature, you have developed a life-saving habit. Experts claim that a hand sanitizer works best if it has more than 60% alcohol content. So select ones with optimal alcohol content only.
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3. MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCE 
Maintain social distance between you and people around you. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing using a mask in public places. Whether its shopping for essentials or buying from the medical stores or home-delivery of food, always be aware to maintain distance. Shaking-hands are a strict 'No'. Condition yourself to doing contact-less gestures to communicate better.
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4. WEAR A PROTECTIVE MASK, REUSABLE IS BETTER
Wearing a face mask is mandatory. Never step out of your house without wearing one. This is a habit that can protect you and others as well. A little care goes a long way. It is as important as wearing a helmet while riding a bike. And when you buy a mask, buy a washable and reusable one. Masks can get contaminated over repeated uses, and will require a good wash, every now and then. Reusable masks are better, since mask disposal adds to more trash in the environment, and also can contaminate it with more germs.
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5. PROTECT YOUR MASKS TOO
Masks also need to be protected since they can get contaminated if kept out in the open. And using a contaminated mask will only add to the risk. Ensure masks are not kept in a way, where they are likely to get contaminated. 
Even after wearing a mask, when you want to eat, do not bring the mask down to you neck. These areas already have been exposed to the outside, the mask once it touches the exposed areas becomes contaminated and can infect you directly when you put the mask back on. Do not touch the inner cloth of the mask with contaminated hands.
6. A GOOD OL’ BATH SOLVES MANY PROBLEMS
We know usage of soap and water kills germs. You may have visited places that could have contaminated your body and clothing. Whenever you step into public places, chances of getting infected is more. And even when you come home from outside, keep a safe distance from your family members till you take bath and freshen up. Also put your used clothes for wash immediately, avoid reusing them.
7. VISIT ONLY OPEN AND WELL VENTILATED PLACES, IF NEED BE
Go to only well ventilated areas for shopping, this reduces the risk by folds. And there is always online shopping, you could get all of your favourite stuff brought online as well.
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8. DINE ON IMMUNITY BUILDING FOODS 
Eat good stuff, get your proteins, vitamins, anti-oxidants and fluids. Keep your body clean internally also. Hot water sips. Immunity building foods like citrous fruits, ginger, turmeric, pepper..etc should be part of your diet. Happy news for dark chocolate lovers. Dark chocolate contains a heavy concentration of theobromine, an antioxidant that has been proven to alleviate coughing. Most nuts contain vitamin E, another vitamin that's crucial to fighting off sickness.
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9. AVOID TOUCHING NOSE/EYES :
Avoid touching your face, includes your eyes, mouth, and nose with you hands. You could have touched contaminated surfaces and articles over the day. Even currency notes can be contaminated. Hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth which can enter your body and make you sick.
10. DO NOT SPIT IN PUBLIC PLACES
This should be avoided at all cost, you do not want to be the reason to transmit any kind of germs, especially now. The municipality workers, or public cleaners are people who do great service to us and society. We could be putting them at risk. A child playing outside could be a unsuspecting victim of your actions. A little awareness could keep people around you safe. And if people around you are safe, you also would be.
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11.SANITISE YOUR STUFF OFTEN
Mobile phone can have more bacterial contamination than even toilets seats. Yes, scientists at the University of Arizona have found that mobile phones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats. Sanitize your personal stuff often, especially the ones you use regularly, like your mobile phone, key chains, door knobs, taps etc. Avoid using or touching somebody else’s mobile phone or articles. Even if you do, hand sanitise immediately after.
12. GET INFORMATION FROM TRUSTED SOURCES
Nowadays, one can find many fake news on COVID and the outbreak, so before trusting any news, you need to make sure. Get updated information about COVID-19 only from trusted sources. You could also download the Arogya Sethu App for regular updates from the govt.     
Prevention is better than cure’, let us follow this wisdom and bring it in action. Let us keep ourselves, our family and in turn our society safe. Safety First, everything else comes next!
Note: This article is for infotainment and not medical advice. Consult your doctor, for all medical advises.
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