The coronavirus is the big media story of 2020 so far. Originating in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, the virus has spread across the entire world. Recently, it has started spreading more rapidly in the US.
Many people are panicking, while others can’t quite see what the big deal is. As always, the appropriate response is somewhere in between. While other illnesses certainly kill more people, we have more understanding of them and better ways to curb their spread. Thus far, the numbers of people infected by the coronavirus are rising rapidly, and it is not clear yet just how deadly it is.
The good news is that if you pay close attention to hygiene and follow some simple habits when going out in public, you should be safe from contracting the virus.
However, if you are going into rehab, you might be a little bit more concerned. You will be living in close contact with other people, who will each receive visitors regularly. Nonetheless, rehab is not just something you can delay for later.
There are ways to prevent the coronavirus spreading in rehab. Follow these tips to ensure you are less likely to contract the virus.
Don’t share cigarettes
For better or worse, people in rehab smoke a lot. It is in many ways an understandable habit for those of us who are quitting our main addictive coping mechanism. In rehab, therefore, people share cigarettes without a second thought.
Unfortunately, sharing saliva with someone who has the coronavirus is a surefire way to contract the illness. Even if you simply take the cigarette from between their fingers, you are putting yourself at risk by subsequently putting it between your lips.
As great as a rehab community is, exercise some stronger hygiene boundaries and only smoke your own cigarettes.
Stay in separate rooms if possible
If your rehab is crowded, you may have no choice but to sleep in the same room as others. However, make sure the staff spreads residents apart as much as possible. Ideally, you’ll be able to stay in a room by yourself. If not, separated beds are a much better option than bunk beds.
That said, symptoms of the coronavirus include coughing and fever. If someone exhibits signs of perfect health, there is little risk in sharing a room with them. There may be many reasons a person is coughing (including the aforementioned smoking habit), but at the moment, someone with a cough should take extra precautions for the peace of mind of other residents.
Wash your hands
This is another hygiene matter that becomes a little bit trickier in rehab. Hand sanitizers are alcohol-based, and not really an option among recovering addicts. However, by washing your hands thoroughly with soap throughout the day, you should be able to maintain good hygiene. Wash for at least twenty seconds (or twice the time it takes to sing happy birthday).
Most importantly, do not touch your face. The coronavirus can only be transmitted via oral or nasal ingestion. As long as you keep your hands away from your face, nothing will be transmitted by them.
Comfort from afar
There are going to be a lot of emotional moments in rehab, and your instinct may be to hug a person or share a tissue. Try and resist the urge to do so. Comforting someone without touching them is in itself an important skill to learn. It forces us to be more at ease with someone else’s emotions since we are unable to “hug” the pain away.
Importantly, throw away any tissues and wash your hands.
While all of this seems like a lot to take in, there is no reason to panic. As long as you’re following these steps, you are unlikely to contract the virus, even in close quarters with other residents. And if you do contract the coronavirus, you will likely recover within a week or two.
The coronavirus may dominate the news for the next few months, but it is no reason to delay your rehab journey. Armed with the requisite information, you will be well-prepared to stay safe.