Updated: Dec 31, 2020
My birthday just passed and I'm always asked the age-old question, "do you feel any different?" Well this year, I actually do. I feel wiser and more health-conscious.
COVID has wreaked havoc on life as we used to know it and we all must adjust to a new norm. This year has been crazy, but I am blessed to be alive and see another year. A part of me feels guilty for wanting to step outside and celebrate my birthday. While another part of me feels like I should appreciate my privilege to celebrate, considering that so many people didn't get to see their birthdays this year.
I think that it is important for us to still enjoy this year and celebrate milestones as much as we can because tomorrow is never promised. We can still share special moments with our loved ones and be safe by following a few simple precautions:
Wear a mask
I know it's hard to wear one while eating, but if you're entering a public space like a restaurant, it's a good idea to keep your face covered when around other people. According to the CDC, "The mask helps prevent a person who is sick from spreading the virus to others. It helps keep respiratory droplets contained and from reaching other people." The bottom line is that masks are a form of source control that prevents the virus from spreading from person to person.
2. Keep a 6 ft distance
It's pretty unrealistic to think that anyone who is celebrating with their loved ones would remain exactly 6 ft apart at all times, but limiting your close contact to them and strangers will help keep everyone safe. A convenient way to determine if someone is too close if to expand your arms out and have the other person expand their arms out and if your fingertips touch...you're a little too close.
3. Wash your hands
Clean hands are healthy hands. Make sure that you carry around hand sanitizer in case you can't wash your hands for at least 30 seconds with soap and water. Be careful to choose a safe hand sanitizer, because some contain methanol. It is organic wood alcohol that is highly poisonous and can cause permanent blindness, according to Dr. Jim Diaz, Professor of Public Health and Head of Environmental and Occupational Health at LSU Health Sciences Center. To protect my hands, I like to wear disposable gloves, especially if I have to touch things like handles and menus.
4. Go virtual
If you or your guests are apprehensive about going out during this time, you can always have a virtual celebration via Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, or FaceTime for example. It's important to not feel pressured or pressure others to put themselves at risk of being exposed to the virus. Speaking of electronics, I recommended cleaning your devices with at least 70% isopropyl alcohol each day. Phone are major vectors for harboring bacteria and viruses, so it is important to keep the things we use daily clean.
5. Be smart, please
At the end of the day, just remember to take care of your health. If you feel sick and are experiencing any symptoms such as a fever, cough, body aches, or headaches, then seek medical attention and quarantine yourself for 14 days or more. Be considerate of others, especially those who are immunocompromised and try to #stayhome as much as possible. If you think you may have been exposed then get tested even if you are asymptomatic. Georgia residents can find a list of testing centers near them by going here
To find out what a COVID test looks like and if I had COVID, watch my YouTube video I know this is a difficult time and that there has been a lot of tragedy, but we must keep our heads up and continue to give thanks to God for sparing us. Whenever you feel like you're starting to lose hope remember this verse: