Our world has been affected by a pandemic of an unprecedented magnitude. Every single day, a large number of people test positive for COVID-19. Since early 2020, life as we knew it had changed drastically. Ever since then, one of the phrases that have come into frequent everyday use is ‘social distancing’.
So, what is social distancing all about?
In the field of public health, the concept of social distancing, which is also known as physical distancing, refers to the set of activities that are performed with the intention of preventing the spread of a contagious disease. This is done by maintaining a safe minimum physical distance between people as well as reducing the number of times people come into close contact with one another.
Just like the name suggests, social distancing involves maintaining a distance from each other, and also avoiding crowds and large gatherings. This practice minimises the chances of a disease spreading from person to person, which results in reduced disease transmission, in turn resulting in fewer people falling sick.
The practice of social distancing is the most effective when the disease in question spreads through all or any of the following methods:
- Coughing or Sneezing
- Direct Physical Contact
- Indirect Physical Contact (such as through touching a contaminated surface)
- Airborne Transmission
In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the above have contributed to its rapid spread. As a result, schools and colleges have had to be shut with classes being shifted to an online format, many companies switching from in-office operations to a work from home format, restaurants temporarily closing or offering only takeaways and/or deliveries, recreational facilities such as parks and playgrounds, swimming pools, gyms, theatres and amusement parks being closed till further notice, as well as general advisories to stay at home unless going out is absolutely necessary.
However, the term ‘social distancing’ is a bit of a misnomer because it is physical distancing that is what helps to minimise the spread of an infection. Physical separation when meeting outdoors, at a safe distance, is still a safe practice when there is no lockdown, curfew or an order instructing people to stay at home. All this aside, the technology of today enables us to stay in contact with our friends and family through online platforms as well as social media.
Now that we have familiarised ourselves with what social distance entails, what can be done to ensure that proper social distancing practices are followed and maintained?
- Stay at Home Unless Going Out is Absolutely Necessary
Staying at home as far as possible is regarded as the golden rule of social distancing. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid leaving the house except for purchasing essential supplies. This practice also includes not inviting friends and other family members over to your house for parties and social visits. It is strongly discouraged that you entertain any guests during this time.
- Avoid Crowds and Social Gatherings
By keeping away from events such as parties and other social gatherings, or places where a large number of people may tend to congregate, you minimise the total number of contact points between you and other people, which helps to minimise your exposure to a disease. However, sometimes it may not be possible to avoid face to face interactions with people. In those situations, always wear a face mask and avoid proximity as well as physical contact.
- Maintain Safe Distance from People
Maintain a minimum distance of at least 2 metres from other people at all times. It is hard to tell an infected person from a healthy person just by their appearance, and, in close proximity, if they sneeze or cough, the droplets from their mouth are highly likely to fall on you. Therefore, as a standard practice, it is strongly advised to keep some distance between you and another person. This is especially important if the person in question is showing symptoms of a contagious illness. Avoid shaking hands, hugs or pats. Instead, you can go with a wave, a nod or even a namaste!
- Engage in Safe Social Activities
Even though staying at home is the need of the hour, it is still possible to keep in touch with family and friends and maintain the various social connections we as human beings need. Keep in touch with your near and dear ones (those whom you do not live with in the same house) through phone conversations, video calls, group chats, social media and instant messaging. However, if you do intend to meet in person, meet outdoors and maintain a safe physical distance.
- Use Own Transportation as Far as Possible
It is equally important to maintain social distance when travelling even for essential errands or to and from work. Public transportation such as buses, trains, trams, carpools, shared rides and taxis provide ample scope for diseases to spread as a number of people share the same enclosed space in close proximity. It is therefore highly recommended to utilise your own transportation if available, such as your own car, motorcycle or bicycle. However, if such an option is not viable for you, keep safe distance at bus stops, train stations and try to maintain adequate distance between other passengers when on board any form of public transport.
Social distancing may seem scary and difficult at first, but once you get used to it, it becomes a habit. The health benefits of following social distancing practices far outweigh the inconveniences, not to mention the impact these simple practices can have on keeping you and people around you safe, as well as preventing the spread of diseases.
In addition to social distancing, it is equally important to follow healthy and hygienic practices with regard to personal care as well. Wash your hands regularly, apply hand sanitizer or antiseptic skin liquid. There are numerous hygiene products brands to choose from, but KMP is a market leader in the personal care market, offering you a wide range of personal care products that are made with all natural ingredients, are of the highest quality and are affordable.
During the time of the pandemic, it is more important than ever to look after oneself and stay safe, secure, healthy and fit. KMP’s products are designed to help you with exactly that. You can choose from a diverse range of products, ranging from balms and oils to skin hygiene liquid and a host of other products.