How to Correct 5 Common Coronavirus Mistakes When Out in Public

Available for Interviews: Dr. Tammy Penhollow

Dr. Tammy Penhollow is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, specializing in anesthesiology, pain management, and regenerative medicine. Having over 20 years of experience has helped her to cultivate a passion for regenerative medicine and holistic healing. Dr. Penhollow practices at Precision Regenerative Medicine in the greater Phoenix area.

 

Talking Points from Dr. Tammy Penhollow on
How to Correct Common Coronavirus Mistakes When Out in Public:

Learning physical distancing and advanced hygiene is not something that comes naturally to such a social society. Many of the habits we’re being asked to learn or relearn may seem like common sense when we think about a highly contagious and transmissible infection, but unless we are in the healthcare field, and more specifically, in a procedure-related job such as an operating room or other area where sterile procedure is the norm, this is not easy. Many of the actions below can be learned and incorporated into everyday life, and it’s likely the changes may decrease our risk not only of Coronavirus, but the common cold and flu as well.

  1. Wearing a mask improperly. Many memes show the right and wrong way to wear a mask. It is only effective if it covers both the nose and the mouth, and you keep it on until you get to a place where you can remove it—and then, either throw it away if disposable, place in the laundry basket, or store it so the “contaminated” outside does not touch the inside.  Some masks are being reused over and over out of necessity or because they’re meant to be. Possible solutions are having at least two masks so they can be rotated while the other is cleaned or hanging in the sunshine for at least 30 minutes as a quick UV decontamination. Do not touch the outside of the mask. Wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer) both before and after putting it on or taking it off.

 

  1. Negligent bathroom habits. Touching any handles with your hands. If you cannot avoid it (like the bathroom stall latch), remember your hand is “contaminated” and anything you touch is now also contaminated (zipper, sunglasses, purse, etc.). Consider using a square of toilet paper to latch the stall, another to unlatch it. If the sink is not a motion detector flow, wash your hands and use the paper towel to shut off the water. Paper towels can also be used to open the door to exit the room.

 

  1. Not being mindful at dirty gas stations. Touching the gas nozzle and the touchpad with your bare hands. Two strategies can be used: 
    • Glove your dominant hand to do everything from opening the tank, touching the touchpad (answering all of the questions), touching the nozzle, and (if you are washing your own windshield), touching the squeegee with the hand that is dirty until you take the glove off. The nondominant hand can swipe the credit card (return it to your pocket or hold onto it with that hand to remind you that it is the clean hand) and can properly remove the glove, and can then be the hand to open the car door. Use hand sanitizer when you return to the car. 
    • Use hand sanitizer immediately when you get back in the car, but know that the sanitizer bottle, the door handle, and your credit card (or phone if you tap the phone for quick pay) also need to be cleaned.
  1. Touching germy points of payment. Anywhere there is something to sign or use a keypad. Touching these pads or pens if they have not been cleaned before you, puts you at risk. I’ve seen some grocery stores clerks wipe down the point of sale kiosk between every person. Others have placed a sheet of cling wrap over the kiosk. That may protect the kiosk but it does not present a clean touch surface for each customer. I have also seen physician offices give the patient a pen cleaned in front of the patient and ask them not to replace the pen in the cup when finished, but rather place it on the counter and it’s immediately cleaned before it’s placed back in the cup. There are separate “clean” and “dirty” areas, like in an operating suite.

 

  1. Careless lunchroom habits at work. Gone may be the days of the lunch potlucks and the shared bags, boxes, and plates of foods. Even the shared condiments in the refrigerator and the handles and pads on the microwave and refrigerator are potential sources of infection. On my first day back to work, I walked in with my lunch bag and felt like I was on Candid Camera. A crockpot full of pulled pork, an open family-sized bag of chips, an open container with a large Kringle, and a shared plastic knife that people were using to cut off bite-sized pieces, along with an assortment of breads in plastic bags, condiments in their squeeze tubes, all laid out on the table. I just needed the microwave to heat up my dish from home. Where to put the lunch bag down? Where to clean the microwave handle and key pad? Once my food was ready, I was joined by three coworkers in quick succession—in a 10 x 8 room, where masks and face shields come off (we are healthcare workers). I grabbed my food from the microwave, picked up my lunchbag and left the room. Maybe we are not ready for work lunch rooms.

 

It all comes down to modifying what we do when we go out. It’s as simple as picking up a can of soup to read a label, removing an item of clothing from the rack to hold it up for size, touching the chair, table top or menu at the restaurant. Perhaps the biggest lesson is if we touch anything, we cannot then touch our face. We need to wash our hands or use hand sanitizer, particularly before eating or touching our faces. Developing new habits may show a reduction in the number of little colds, may prevent getting the flu, and work toward reducing risk of contracting the Coronavirus, or the next big virus, for that matter.

 

Interview: Dr. Tammy Penhollow

Dr. Tammy Penhollow practices at Precision Regenerative Medicine in Scottsdale, Arizona, where develops individualized treatment plans for musculoskeletal and spine interventions with PRP and bone marrow aspirate using image guidance, as well as micro-needling with PRP for skin, hair and anti-aging conditions. She also stays active in teaching as an Instructor in Anesthesiology for the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and as a Supplemental Consultant for the Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.

A former active duty US Naval Officer, Dr. Penhollow has lived, practiced, and has been deployed around the US and overseas. She embodies the lifestyle she recommends to her patients and is an active hiker, gardener and yogi as well as a French trained home chef and an aspiring sommelier.

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