I have written this post for people who may be experiencing anxiety about resuming work, or just really want to do their best while stepping out of the house. Please, only step out of the house IF you need to, not if you want to. Covering the basics like below, can give a sense of safety, at least it does for me. You can read about previous memoirs on covid-19 basics and how Fear, is good.
Nigeria has lifted lockdown from May 4th 2020. Your boss has asked you to come to work. You have to earn a living. But an average human touches their face 20 times in one hour. How can we stay uninfected?
First the easy one; sanitize your hands. Sanitize like you’re obsessed. Sanitizing is now a lifestyle. Don’t do ijebu with that sanitizer. Rub your hands up to your wrist. Sanitizing is a prerequisite to existing. Sanitize your hands at home. Sanitize in the office. After you touch any object that is not attached to your body, sanitize. Disinfect all the surfaces in your house, on your office table, then sanitise your hands. Again. Before you purchase, ensure alcohol content is 60% minimum. If you already purchased and you’re not sure, get rubbing alcohol at a pharmacist. If the sanitizer is too sticky, chances are, it is more body lotion than alcohol.
Two, the goal behind wearing facemasks is to avoid inhaling respiratory droplets. Nobody argued about washing hands for 20 seconds. Nobody contested the 1-meter rule. But suddenly there is no adequate research to back use of masks. Lmauuu. Overdo is better than underdo, so brotherly, MASKS. At no point should you take your masks off outside the safety of your home. If you finna getting choked, maybe spray disinfectant into the air, take a quick inhale, and WEAR IT BACK. Do Not take it off to talk, Do Not take it off to sneeze. You may be asymptomatic, and end up infecting someone else. Knowing how crowded Nigeria is, chances are respiratory droplets are just chilling in the air like lazy youths. If SARS, a coronavirus was airborne, MERS was airborne, is it their senior brother, SARS-COV part 2 that we want to play politics with? Fink abourrit! Oh, and before you purchase masks, do the fire test stuff.
This brings me to point 2.2. Stop wearing those damned Ankara masks (sorry tailors that I know). They are not any cheaper than surgical masks. You’ve probably heard they don’t filter the virus. How do you plan on breathing all day if that’s what you’re wearing? If it passed fire test, it’s because it’s thick. Too thick, and you can’t breathe sustainably. Is it the same ankara that do shrink or fade after one wash? When the almighty scientists said use cloth masks, they specified cotton material, a material that will not be damaged or shrink after one wash. An old cotton T-shirt, socks or Bandana will do, they’re all safe for reuse and cost effective. So unless you have a reliable source, make yours at home. But don’t copy Sanwo-olu and be thinking of swag.
Now, on to your stepping out in style. The best outfit to wear while leaving your house is something that covers the whole body, some sort of PPE you can shed when the day is done. Long sleeve tops and shirts will do. Long trouser or skirt will do. If long skirt feels too weird, you can add panty hose. If you have to wear a weave/wig, please tie it to the back of your head as you wear your face mask, so your mzwaneka don’t transfer virus back and forth with your mask. Chances of you touching your face while wearing a wig is quite high. It could stray to your face, and in one second you’ve raised your hands to your face to swipe it away. It can carry itself and enter your eyes if you are sitting by a car window. The same hair that has touched the back of the seat inside danfo? And unless you will wash your wig everyday, treat it like an infected object.
Always travel light. Do not carry too many objects that might track the virus. This is not the time you want to be digging to the bottom of your bag to find a pen, or having to dump the contents of your bag on another surface to find your car keys.
If you have to take public transport, try and get to your bus stop with some time to kill, so you won’t have to be in the Lagos danfo rush. If it doesn’t work by 8am, get there 7. If it doesn’t work for 7, get there 6:30. If you feel choked or you told someone to scoot and they are being stubborn, just cough or sneeze loudly. But, don’t get thrown out of the bus. I don’t know you. I’ll say avoid crowded situations but, you may be caught in it anyway. With your face masks, you will be fine. Don’t touch anything unless you absolutely have to. And sanitize your hands after. Try it and let me see how it goes
If you can make it to the bank, or if you have a banker friend, please, break up larger notes. Get smaller notes so you will not have to collect change. If you cannot help it, get a different purse and put your change inside, or all your paper notes. It’s your infection purse. And whenever you have to open or close it, sanitise your hands before and after you pay someone with it. Paper notes are like, the virus itself.
Your sitting position should be pious and gentle. Your hands always in front of you. No load that cannot sit on your lap with you. You have to treat every surface as contaminated.
If you drive your own car, you will feel safe in that controlled settings. Always disinfect the surfaces you most likely touch in your car, the door handles, mirror, etc. If you know someone in your compound that drives and may go your way, now will be a good time to befriend them.
While at work, restrict how often you touch objects or surfaces. Sanitise your work area and objects you frequently touch. You can simply spray sanitizer on baby wipes, and wipe down electronics or keyboard et al. If you do not have to work with so much paper, then don’t. Do not be touching paper up and down.
You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned gloves. My issue with gloves is that false sense of security you get while wearing it, so you feel confident in touching anything anyhow and you just track it around. They are also highly un-reusable. But if you prefer gloves, you should never reuse. When taking it off, do not let your hands touch the outside of it. Wash your hands after you take it off.
P.S, I reuse my surgical facemasks. I do an hour of walking everyday, I have to wear one everyday. It’s government regulation, and it’s for my safety. So I convince myself I haven’t worn it that long and if I spray sanitiser on every part of it, then wear back the same part that’s touched my face, I’ll be fine. I may be wrong. Because las las how many can I throw away? I am considering getting cotton masks I can reuse for short periods of time. But I did some research and if your surgical mask feels quite moist by the end of the day, thrash it.
P.P.S, I touch my face even more when I’m outside, I read that it’s the anxiety. I just sanitise my hands, and scratch my face satisfactorily. I even sanitize my face! Sebi one time, alcohol was inside all our face cleansing products. I prefer the use of sanitizer to hand washing when I’m outdoors because I do not have to touch a lot of surfaces. I also sanitize my sanitizer bottles hahaha.
As you get back into your house, just as you close the door, stop right there. Don’t touch too many things. Start disinfecting all you came in with. Your bag and it’s entire content. You may not be able to sanitise papers or paper notes, so keep everything in one bag, and sanitise your hands when you’re done. As you’ve won those clothes for one full day, just throw it in the laundry. Don’t let it mix with other clothing. Although, I feel it is unnecessary to wash a particular item if I haven’t worn it long, so I hang it out if I will be wearing it as outside protection on inner wears. I guess you can say it’s my reusable PPE.
Sigh*. I have covered all parts I can think of right now. The truth is you will not always be 100% careful. You will fall short. Your eyes will be itchy and you’ll touch it without the slightest hesitation. But do your best already. Be extra. Go all out, so when you fall short you’ve had your own back. Stay safe, stay uninfected, may we be counted among the living when it is all over. And let’s talk more in the comments! Happy Worker’s Day!