What is a Pandemic?

How to stay safe during the unexpected.


December 15, 2020

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What is a pandemic? This is a question many of us avoid considering — and for good reason. A pandemic is a global outbreak of a disease. It can be dangerous. It can be expensive. Its spread can grow out of nowhere and can pull millions of families into the unknown. The good news is there are ways you and your loved ones can stay safe during the unexpected.

Some basic precautionary actions you can take include:

  • Social distancing

  • Being mindful of what you touch

  • Cleaning

  • Checking up on your loved ones

  • Knowing the symptoms

  • Staying up-to-date on news from experts

When a global disease strikes, it’s best to take the most effective action as soon as possible.

Become self-disciplined at social distancing

During a pandemic, you’ll likely hear the phrase “social distancing” more and more frequently. That’s because social distancing is a preventive measure scientists and medical experts recommend we use to keep a pandemic from spreading.

In most straightforward measures, the practice requires humans to remain at least six feet from anyone coughing, sneezing, or showing suspicious symptoms. More strenuous and effective efforts include reducing the number of people around us, limiting the number of times we leave the house, limiting discretionary travel, reducing shopping outings, and avoiding dining at restaurants and bars.

Social distancing is so important during a pandemic because viruses thrive and can quickly spread in public settings. The fewer number of people together leads to fewer cases.

How can I make social distancing work for my family?

Staying inside all day might be easy for some, but it’s a challenging undertaking for parents with children. How can you stock up on food without stepping inside a grocery store? How do you keep your little ones from growing bored? Some solutions might take a little creativity, while others make use of technology.

Order Groceries Online

More and more grocery stores have been providing customers the option of ordering their groceries online. Some chains will even let you order groceries from their mobile applications. In most cases, you can search the store’s website and fill your online shopping cart with the items you need. When it’s time to pick up the groceries, you can either request delivery or choose curbside pickup. If you decide to have someone deliver your groceries, make sure they leave them by your door so you don’t have face-to-face contact. Typically, with curbside delivery, you pay online. This reduces the contact you have when picking up groceries.

Play Games Inside

Social-distancing with your family doesn’t mean you have to sit around staring at the walls. Pull out some family-favorite board games and start a tournament. Or work on arts and crafts projects that you can hang up on the walls to cheer everyone up. Puzzles are another great option because they’re interactive and stimulating for the mind. Try building some with unique artwork that will keep your little ones engaged.

Host a movie night

Who doesn’t enjoy watching a movie? Movies distract our minds and pull us off into a different world—stream something lighthearted, or dust off one of your childhood favorites.

Many different streaming services, such as Amazon, often have new releases, while platforms like Hulu, Netflix, and Disney+ offer a wide assortment of entertainment options.

Watch what you touch

While every infectious disease spreads differently, there are a few basic guidelines you can remember to follow. It all boils down to watching what you touch. For example, avoid touching your face, especially your nose, eyes, and mouth, to prevent germs’ transmission.

The reasoning behind this is simple. Just think of all the different surfaces and objects you touch throughout the day — from doorknobs and kitchen utensils to your dog’s leash and credit cards. Viruses may exist on these surfaces, and if we touch our faces right after these objects, we risk transmission.

Cover Your Mouth

Covering your mouth is something we should practice year-round. However, covering your mouth is especially critical when the world is suffering from a pandemic. Why? Because it’s a simple act that prevents germs from spreading. Next time you feel that familiar fuzzy feeling in your nose, get your arm or tissue ready to do some covering.

Wash Your Hands

It’s a simple tip and a necessary precaution in protecting yourself from germs. And remember, the most efficient hand washing lasts for at least 20 seconds with soap. The CDC says it doesn’t matter what temperature the water is.

Keep Your Distance

While it’s best to practice social distancing during a pandemic, there may be times when you have to leave the house. When out in public, make sure to stay six feet from people who are not members of your household. This is especially true if you are around others who are sick.

Clean and disinfect regularly

Some of us designate a certain day of the week to clean the house. Maybe it’s on Tuesdays when the kids are at band practice or Saturdays when everyone’s at home and can play a part in the task. During a pandemic, however, you should increase your cleaning frequency. You can easily accomplish this by using disinfecting wipes to clean surfaces within your home throughout the week.

Pick up the phone

Make sure the people you care about are okay by giving them a call. You never know who needs a helping hand. For example, some diseases are more likely to have severe effects on the elderly. Checking in on your older relatives or loved ones can give them the chance to let you know if they need assistance. Maybe they’re physically incapable of going to the grocery store to stock up on groceries. If you’re younger, healthy, and willing, you could make the trip yourself or arrange to have someone get groceries for them.

Know when something’s not right

You can protect yourself and those around you by knowing what the symptoms are for the disease responsible for the pandemic. As soon as you notice symptoms in yourself or family members, visit the doctor for testing or use your available resources for guidance. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should also avoid touching or coming into contact with anyone.

Stay Aware

Finding the answer to “what is a pandemic” is relatively easy. Finding a solution to what happens during a pandemic is not as simple. State and federal governments will often adopt policies and procedures to keep the public as safe as possible. This can include city-wide curfews, restaurant closures, or cancellations of large public gatherings. Day-to-day life will most certainly change. Stay ahead of the curve by staying aware.

Keep other unwanted things out of your home by investing in a home security system from Brinks Home™.

Allison Clark is a senior writer for Brinks Home. She enjoys educating others on the benefits of smart home security and using technology to simplify everyday life.

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