My Stroke Strategies for the Corona Virus

Rebecca Dutton

These strategies are related to my daily routine.  They are examples of what stroke survivors can do to protect themselves.  Your risk of catching the corona virus is probably different from mine but I think we can agree that a stroke creates enough drama for a lifetime.

Washing hands with the backwards rule:   With the soap dispenser facing away from me, I push down on the nozzle with my palm and catch soap with my fingers.  After I scrub my hands, I run my soapy thumb over the top of the handle before I rinse.  I started washing my hands this way years ago when I handled raw chicken.  I did not want to leave chicken fluids on the bar of soap and soap dish.

Paying:  Many infected people do not cough so the rapid spread of the corona virus cannot be explained by lots of people spraying germs in the air.  We do not know how long the corona virus lives on environmental surfaces.  For now I pay with a credit card instead of handling coins that hundreds of people have touched.  It is cold enough to wear a coat so I put this credit card in my coat pocket rather than dig through my purse to find it.

Shopping cart:  It is easier to push and steer a shopping cart with both hands.  However, physical exertion makes my hemiplegic thumb bend fully so I don a piece of foam to stop my thumb nail from cutting into my skin.  I use a Kleenex tissue to take the foam off when I get in the car and then I isolate it in a special location.

Handles and keys:  Some people wipe the handle of a cart before they start shopping.  This does not protect them when they touch cans and boxes touched by employees who stock the shelves.
We do not know how long the corona virus lives on environmental surfaces.  I currently have 2 cuts on my sound fingers so before I get out of the car I don a thin vinyl glove used by beauticians.  It is one size too large so it is easier to don.  I remove the glove after I get the cart to my car.  My sound hand is clean when I open the car door, pull my car key out of my purse (green wrist band), and put my hand on the gear shift handle and steering wheel.  I throw the glove in a bag in my car.  My sound hand is clean when I pull out my house key (purple band) and open my front door.  I wash both hands when I get inside.

Touch screens:  Before the corona virus I refused to use a filthy touch screen to order a meal and then pick up food with my sound hand.  Ordering in person is slower but safer as long as I use a napkin to handle the menu which is never washed.  If a transaction forces me to use a touch screen, I use the back of a knuckle which I never stick in my ear, nose, or mouth.

Touching my face:  On the news a reporter touched her face 13 times in one hour while using a computer even though she was trying not to.  Transferring germs from our hand to our eyes, nose, or mouth is a common way to get sick.  The news story concluded that it is really hard to stop this unconscious behavior.  Any suggestions would be welcome.