Adapting your lifestyle with coronavirus

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COLUMBIA – COVID-19 is causing anxiety and cancellations, and adapting your lifestyle at this time may seem necessary for safety and prevention.

Dr. Christelle Ilboudo, medical director of MU Health Care Infection Control and Prevention, said taking precautions and maintaining hand hygiene are important.

“The biggest message is really hand hygiene so washing hands wherever we go—trying to not touch our face, our eyes, our nose, our mouth— and avoiding situations where they could be in close quarters with a lot of people,” Ilboudo said.

Ilboudo also said people should be aware of the risks of exposure in circumstances where they are in close contact with others.

“We often talk about concerts or crowding, but if you are in a setting where you are six feet away from the next person, that’s fine,” Ilboudo said. “But, if you are in very close quarters, whether it’s a small gathering or bigger one, then just your chances of being exposed is higher.”

Ilboudo said people can still run errands and be in public spaces, but they should watch for signs of illness.

“I think grocery stores are still fine, even going out to public spaces is still fine,” Ilboudo said. “Again now, just be cautious of who they’re around and trying to keep their distance if they see anybody coughing. People who are sick really should be staying home—is the biggest message right now. I don’t think we’re at a point yet where people should be quarantining or staying in their homes, but certainly, we should be a little more careful.”

She said Missouri residents are currently at low risk for contracting COVID-19, but this could change at any moment.

“We do not have any cases here in Boone County. We’ve only had two cases in Missouri, so I think that the risk is still low for most Missourians,” Ilboudo said.

Columbia resident Maarten Nieuwenhuizen said he and his wife are taking precautions against the virus.

“My wife and I are both in the high-risk group—she’s 82, and I am 92, and we have some medical issues,” Nieuwenhuizen said. “If we catch it, we will be in great trouble.”

Nieuwenhuizen said he and his wife have not left the house much due to the virus.

“We are both retired, so we have a fairly easy life, but now, we are confined to our house. [We had] one outing today,” Nieuwenhuizen said. 

For more information on the virus and prevention, visit MU Health Care’s website.