Roundup: Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Households; Washing, Storing Your Cloth Masks; and 11 Minutes of Exercise

CDC: Follow These Steps to Prevent COVID-19 Transmission Inside Your Household

As the holidays come to an end, U.S. public health officials are reinforcing guidance to avoid transmission of COVID-19 among high-risk family members within a household. Officials are doing so in anticipation of an even higher surge of positive cases in January across the nation.

“If your household includes one or more people who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, then all household members should act as if they are more likely to get very sick,” explains the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The most important steps to take involves social distancing inside the home and mask wearing at certain times in “shared spaces.” If you or others in your household are in close contact (within 6 feet) of other people who don’t live in your household — or if you have household members who are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, such as older adults and those with underlying medical conditions, consider wearing masks in shared spaces around others in your home, the CDC states.

Here’s more guidance from the CDC:

  • Stay at least 6 feet apart.
  • In shared spaces, stay about 2 arm lengths apart. Remember that people can spread the virus even if they don’t have symptoms.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
    Monitor your health daily
  • Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in shared spaces.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Do not share items such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, or towels with other people in your home.
  • Wash these items thoroughly after using them.

Even 11 Minutes a Day of Exercise Helps You Live Longer, Researchers Find

The benefits of regular exercise are widely established, but even a little as 11 minutes of exercise each day can help you live longer, says a new study published in the British Journal of Medicine.

Researchers reviewed at data from wearable activity trackers worn by 44,370 middle-aged men and women in the U.S., Norway and Sweden. The participants were followed for 4 to 14.5 years. They study found that people who sat for about eight to 10 hours daily, but took part in about 11 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise a day, were less likely to die than those who only got about two minutes of exercise a day.

That’s much less than the U.S. physical activity guidelines for adults that call for 150 to 300 minutes a week (or 20-45 minutes a day) of moderate-intensity activity, or 75-150 minutes a week (or 10 to 20 minutes a day) of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. Or, an equivalent combination of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Brisk walk, playing tennis and raking the yard are considered moderate-intensity activities.

Researchers say their study shows that even a little exercise every day helps combat chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.

CDC: Here’s How to Properly Wash and Store Your Cloth Masks

U.S. public health officials are reminding the public how to properly store and wash cloth masks, especially as the post-holiday period may bring a more intense surge in positive COVID-19 cases.

“If your mask is wet or dirty from sweat, saliva, make-up, or other liquids or substances, keep it in a sealed plastic bag until you can wash it,” states the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Wash wet or dirty masks as soon as possible to prevent them from becoming moldy.”

Keep in mind, the CDC adds, that wet masks can be hard to breathe through and “are less effective than dry masks.”

When using a using a washing machine, include your mask with the regular laundry. And use regular laundry detergent and the appropriate settings according to the fabric label, the CDC says. When washing masks by hand, use tap water and laundry detergent or soap. Then rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove detergent or soap. Make sure to dry the mask completely before using.

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