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Many of us feel helpless during this pandemic that has gone on much longer that anyone initially thought. And, most of the initial precaution recommendations have not changed.

If you are sick, stay home!  That’s right, if you have the flu, you would stay home, if you have strep throat, you would stay home.  But we now know there is a whole group of people who may be infectious and remain asymptomatic and who may be able to infect others when pre-symptomatic.  So, staying home when you get sick, really, it isn’t good enough, we need to do more.

Wash your hands.  Yes, yes, we know, 20 seconds with soap and water!  Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when available and there is not soiling on your hands.  Don’t touch your face unless you’ve JUST washed your hands.

Continue social distancing.  That was a new term to many of us, and at first sounded so odd.  But in fact, makes perfect sense when you see the science behind the method.  Many of our retailers have adopted one-way aisles and placed markers on the floors six feet apart.  And in areas of the country where we see public adhering to recommendations, it is working!

Wearing masks has been one of the more controversial social recommendations and not readily adopted by all.  Sadly, this has become a great divide in many social circumstances.   In some places across our country, communities have resorted to mandating citizens to wear masks in public.  Wearing masks at work for health care providers is now the new norm and does not appear to be reversed in the near future.

Wiping down frequently touched solid surfaces continues to be recommended.  The likelihood of contracting COVID from a solid surface is not as great as direct contact with infected person, but it still exists.  Infected particles still survive on solid surfaces and if touched with bare hands may make their way to your face and those open portals (eyes, nose, mouth), there is a possibility that you can become infected with the illness.

Be a part of the solution, stop the spread, follow recommendations, stay attuned to what is happening in your community.  Be a good neighbor to the elderly, check in with them, bring groceries or other supplies to them if needed.  There are many ways you can help.

If you have had COVID, consider being a plasma donor. Plasma is the liquid part of blood. Convalescent plasma means plasma that comes from people who have recovered from an infection, like the Coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This plasma may contain antibodies against the virus. Antibodies are proteins that your immune system makes after you have had an infection, that can neutralize or kill the virus and help you to recover. Convalescent plasma is being investigated for the treatment of COVID-19 because there is no approved treatment for this disease and there is some information that suggests it might help some patients recover from COVID-19.

According to NIH, although promising, convalescent plasma has not yet been proven to always help as a treatment for COVID-19. This approach has been tried in a very small number of people in early studies, and some of them improved with this treatment. Many large blood centers are beginning to collect plasma across the United States to address the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

To be eligible to donate, you would need to have recovered from COVID-19, with NO symptoms for at least 28 days and show proof of a positive test or antibodies in your blood.  You must also meet all the tests for routine blood donor criteria.

The potential benefit to you might be the knowledge that you are contributing to a public health research effort to develop a possible treatment for COVID-19. You can contribute and be a part of the solution.

Until an effective treatment or vaccine is widely available, adopt a positive COVID culture including the preventative best defense measures outlined above.  Don’t become complacent!