Be safe Birmingham: tips to prevent the spread of the coronavirus

Sign on Montclair Avenue in Birmingham, Alabama. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Rightfully so, everyone is concerned about coronavirus or COVID-19, which has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.

Alabama may be one of the last states to confirm a case of the virus, we all need to be prepared and also learn how to keep our families, friends, neighbors and selves safe.

Personally, as a caretaker of two in-laws who are over 80 years of age,I want to do everything I can to prevent them from contracting the illness, along with my family and friends.

To help, we’ve prepared a useful list of links and guidance re-published from the CDC website with steps you can take to prevent COVID-19.

Let’s Start with Links

Local assistance and information are critical. For updates and the latest information on what is happening in our community concerning the coronavirus epidemic, bookmark the following pages:

Jefferson County Department of Health (Additional Tips) – HERE

Alabama Department of Public Health

Birmingham, Jefferson County Department of Health
Jefferson County Department of Health. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Prevention Tips from the CDC

1. Take steps to protect yourself

Clean your hands often

    • Wash your hands (often!) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

2. Avoid close contact

Avoid close contact with people who are sick

  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

3) Take steps to protect others

Stay home if you’re sick

    • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.

4) Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow.Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

5) Clean and disinfect

Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes: tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

If surfaces are dirty, clean them.: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

To disinfect:

Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.

Options include:
Diluting your household bleach.

To make a bleach solution, mix 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water

OR

4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation.
Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.cleaner? Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

Alcohol solutions

Ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol.

Visit the CDC website regularly for updates on ways you can prevent the coronavirus

  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.