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Many of us in the community are considered essential, because we are providing essential services that help keep our communities running. In times like these, we are called to the front lines, but this doesn't mean that we must sacrifice our own well-being in exchange.

While we continue to provide for the community, there are a few easy things that we can do to maintain our own health and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

Safety tips for essential workers when returning home

Disinfect - When you get home from work, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If this is not available, hand sanitizer also works. Frequent hand hygiene is recommended by the CDC and World Health Organization to protect against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Changing Clothes - Some may feel the need to change out of work clothes and shower before interacting with family members. We currently know that COVID-19 doesn't live long on fabrics, so the risk of exposing family this way is very low. There is no harm in bathing and changing out of work clothes if it provides reassurance.

Taking Care of Yourself - Getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising are important in not only managing stress levels but also in keeping our immune systems strong. We might be putting in longer hours but making time for these activities can also help reduce the potential for burnout, which puts us at greater risk for getting sick.

Keep Your Mind Healthy - We cannot neglect our mental health during these times. This is a new experience for most of us and, understandably so, fear and anxiety are at an all-time high. Feelings of fear and anxiety are normal. It is important that we recognize our emotions, but it is equally important to find ways to disconnect from job and constant media coverage.

Finally, there are other proven ways to limit exposure to COVID-19. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces at work and at home. Stay home from work if you aren't feeling well, even if it's a mild illness that you would typically continue to work through. While we may not be able to social distance at work, we should continue to practice this outside of work as best as we can.

Thank you for all that you do. Together, we will flatten the curve!

Information received at https://www.gundersenhealth.org/covid19/self-care-for-the-essential-worker/

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