Staying Safe at Home While Hospitals Are Overburdened

The coronavirus health crisis is testing our medical workers like nothing in recent memory. Many hospitals have put off doing any elective surgeries, and many facilities—particularly in hard hit areas like New York City—are recruiting specialists from other disciplines to meet the increased medical need.

Even in the best of times, you want to stay safe and avoid landing in the hospital unnecessarily. But in the midst of a pandemic, you want to take extra care. Here’s why:

  1. Medical professionals need to care for covid patients as much as possible now.
  2. If you do get hurt, best care might not be available.
  3. As a patient, you run the risk of catching “nosocomial” infections—bugs you catch in the hospital.
As Steve Casner writes in Slate, “This is the worst time in modern history to get hurt doing dumb stuff.”

To that end, keep these tips in mind:

  • Minimize drug and alcohol consumption. Being in an altered state to escape the anxiety and boredom of quarantine can elevate your risk of household accidents, such as burns and falls.
  • Mind your children. Young children, especially, may not understand the gravity of what is happening. Children love to roughhouse and do not generally love being stuck inside all day. Make rules for the family; enforce them; and find ways to channel their energy.
  • Say no to home improvement projects. Now is not the time to finish the addition, move shelves, hang pictures, or put together furniture—unless your project is urgent and needed to protect the family.
  • Get enough sleep. Fatigue leads to poor coordination and decision-making.
  • Eat well, and exercise. Staying in good shape will protect you if you do have an accident. If you’re strong and well-nourished, as a general rule, a fall will be less likely to be severe enough to require hospitalization.

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