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10 Things Doctors Do To Protect Themselves From Coronavirus

They know best—so steal these insider tricks to save yourself.
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They are on the frontlines—but are human, just like you, and no one wants to catch the coronavirus. Here's how the country's medical professionals stay healthy enough to fight it.

1

Like Them, You Should Shop Cautiously

Man wearing disposable medical face mask wipes the shopping cart handle with a disinfecting cloth in supermarket
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"For grocery shopping, wearing gloves or repeatedly sanitizing hands, and not touching the face, helps reduce germ contact," says Dr. Delia Weiss, an internist who practices medicine in Boynton Beach, Florida. "Wiping or spraying sanitizer on the grocery cart and check out counter, are also helpful. For grocery, gas and bank keypads, the equipment may be sprayed or wiped before touching."

2

Make Yourself a "Contamination Zone"

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"When I get home, I load all of my groceries onto a designated area of my kitchen. I'm treating everything from outside as if it is potentially contaminated with the virus," says Dr. Jessica Nouhavandi, the lead pharmacist, founder, and CEO of Honeybee Health. "I wipe down everything with a Lysol wipe (with fresh fruit and vegetables, where possible I wash them with soap and water) before putting the groceries away. Lastly, I wipe down the countertop where I put all of the grocery bags initially." 

3

Change Your Clothes and Take Off Your Shoes

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"Before I leave the hospital, I change out of the hospital scrubs and shoes into street clothes and shoes," says Dr. Michelle Lee, a board-certified, Harvard-trained plastic surgeon in California. "After I get home, the first thing that I do is shower. No outside shoes are allowed in the house." 

4

Get Smart With Their Takeout

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"I have them leave it outside the door (I tip extra online), wait 10 minutes, then take it in and then wipe it down with a Clorox wipe (the bag and boxes)," says Dr. Yuna Rapoport, "I always plate it and don't use the included Tupperware."

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5

They Carry Paper Towels Around

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"When I go out of my apartment, I take a paper towel to open all the knobs/elevator buttons on my way out, and have another paper towel on my way in," says Dr. Rapoport. "When I get home I will first wash my hands, then Clorox wipe my keys/wallet/phone, then wash my hands again."

6

They Keep Their Distance

woman in mask focus on stretched hand as symbol of keep distance avoid communication
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"As it has been said avoid social interactions that are not needed. When seeing patients I keep my distance," says Dr. Lugo, "Personal hygiene is in overdrive." 

7

They Live a Balanced Life

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"Eat a lot of fruits and drink plenty of water," says Dr. Lugo, "Spend time in the open doors taking fresh air, observing the social distancing mandate." You should also make exercise a part of your routine.

8

They Shield Their Faces

A mature Caucasian man in a clinical setting being swabbed by a healthcare worker in protective garb to determine if he has contracted the coronavirus or COVID-19.
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"A face shield offers much better protection (then just a mask alone) while interacting with the patients, as there is a chance they might literally cough in your face," says Dr. Dimitar Marinov, MD, Ph.D. and Assist. Professor at the Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria. "It is important to protect the whole face, as the virus can also enter through the mucous membrane of the eye." 

9

They Remain Calm

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"Since stress can lower immune defenses, immune-boosting practices are important," says Dr. Weiss, "Immune system boosting includes relaxation, stress reduction, adequate rest and hydration, good nutrient intake, ventilation of home and workspace, as able, such as opening a window or door, so that germ exposure load can be reduced." "I try to stay well-rested," says Dr. Rafael Lugo

10

They Work For You. You Stay Home for Them.

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"Please give the national efforts an opportunity to work," says Negin Blattman, MD, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine—Phoenix and an infectious disease specialist, of the self-quarantine effort. "If you are honest, 99% of what you are stepping out to do can wait. I show up every day for my patient. We, as the medical community, are asking that you please stay home for us."

And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 50 Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

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Emilia Paluszek
Emilia specializes in human biology and psychology at the University at Albany. Read more