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Things healthcare workers can to do to protect themselves against COVID-19

What to do before leaving home


• Wear simple clothing (like a short-sleeved t-shirt and pants that can be easily washed) and dedicated closed work shoes. If wearing long sleeves, keep them rolled up

Food and drink

• Bring lunch from home in fabric shopping bag
• Use own water bottle, avoid water coolers

Phone, wallet and keys

• Leave wallet at home – bring only essentials (like access card, drivers licence, bank card) in sealable plastic sandwich or lab bag
• Remove protective case from phone. Consider keeping phone in closed, sealable plastic sandwich or lab bag and change this daily
• Keep your phone in your pocket/bag, avoid placing it on work surfaces. Leave it on loud volume
• If able, wipe phone down between each patient
• Keep your keys in your pocket/bag and do not remove until after you have washed hands when leaving work

How to take a break safely

• Stagger breaks to avoid crowded tearooms. Take break outside if possible
• Keep 1,5 metres apart from colleagues

• Avoid sharing food and drink
• Avoid bought lunches from canteen/tearoom, and water coolers, kitchens and bought drinks

• If needing to remove mask/face shield to eat/drink: carefully remove mask/face shield without touching the outside, and store in a clearly labelled, clean paper bag; face shields can be placed face down into a plastic commode basin labeled with your name
• Perform hand hygiene after removing and after putting them on again

• Always wash hands well before eating or drinking

What to do when leaving work and arriving home

When Leaving Work …

• Leave pen at work. Frequently coat it with alcohol hand rub throughout the day

• Keep hand sanitiser in bag or car, and use to clean hands after touching public surfaces

When arriving home …

• Remove work clothes and place in plastic or washable fabric bag to take home
• Perform thorough hand and arm wash

Step 1

• Remove shoes and leave outside, or just inside door, before entering home
• Clean upper part of shoes with hand sanitiser. Avoid touching soles of shoes

Step 2

• As you enter, remove cloth mask without touching the outside
• Then remove work clothes if not already changed
• Put mask and work clothes straight into a hot wash or bucket with hot water and soap

Step 3

• Thoroughly wash hands and arms

Step 4

• Immediately have shower/bath/wash
• Avoid hugs, kisses and direct contact with family members until after shower/bath/wash

How to travel safely using public or staff transport

• Wear a cloth mask while travelling
• Avoid wearing work clothes if possible. Rather change into work clothes after arriving at work

• When waiting in the queue, stand 1,5 metres away from other passengers

• Ensure all windows are kept open

• Avoid touching door handles, rails, windows and other surfaces
• Sit as far from other passengers as possible

Look after your mental health

• Get enough sleep

• Find a creative or fun activity to do

• Talk to friends, family and colleagues

• Do a relaxing breathing exercise each day

• Exercise reguarly

• Seek help if you are struggling:

  • Royal College of General Practitioners | Good resources about mental health | Link
  • Unite Mental Health Guide | Under the strain of a pandemic| Link (PDF)
  • Mental wellbeing and the COVID crisis | Video
  • Royal College of Nurses | Counselling service | Link

• Limit alcohol and avoid drugs

This information & illustrations was provided by the Knowledge Translation Unit, University of Cape Town / LINK

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