Being immunocompromised, I hid during the first few months of the pandemic. My saving grace from going crazy was being able to retreat to the beach. This allowed me some freedom and breathing space from my five kids. But even there, we didn’t see a lot of friends. We were kept to ourselves.
It’s almost July and we are 15 months into this pandemic. The silver lining is that people are getting vaccinated, and we can almost smell the end.
So while we are waiting for herd immunity, our lives are going on, people have started to get back to work, and kids are starting to go back to school- abroad. We also see an influx of people braving air travel leaving for the US and Europe where everything is almost back to normal.
So for us stuck in the PH, how do we get ready to be mobile?
1. Get vaccinated. I was initially against this, saying that we might turn into zombies, arguing that it does not have enough data or efficacy for people of Asian descent. But the compelling argument of having a 50% chance rather than 0% to fight death caused by COVID-19 won. We haven’t heard of cases of people turning into zombies yet. But if we get the virus, we die, and if we turn into zombies, the outcome is the same. So there goes my 50/50 argument.
2. Protect yourself continuously. When you are fully vaccinated, it doesn’t mean you are Superman. You can still contract, spread, and get sick of COVID-19, but the chances of you dying is less. Just like getting chickenpox, you can still get it but less likely severe that you might die. Continue wearing a mask everywhere you go. You can also use other layers of protection such as air cleaners, anti-viral essential oils and when you go home don’t forget to gargle with antiseptic mouthwash.
3. Check out better disinfection ways. Alcohol is the fastest, most convenient way of disinfection, but did you know that too much alcohol can also kill the good bacteria barrier in your skin? It can also make your skin so dry that it will crack, making it an entry point for viruses and bacteria. Other options I have used are VCO and hand shields.
4. Be mindful of your carbon footprint. Disposable masks, face shields, alcohol bottles are now a significant percentage of trash in the world. Even the “Ayudas”, which included sachets, water bottles, have increased. People might say that saving people’s lives is more important than thinking of trash. That kind of thinking is what’s going to kill us all. Try alternatives like reusable masks and sturdier face shields. Refill your alcohol bottles and bring your water jugs instead of buying them every time.
5. Create a carpool bubble. People are starting to work, and sometimes using public transport is not an option. Traffic is already building up, so we need to start thinking of better ways to get around. Discuss with friends in the office or nearby to take turns in driving. To make the drive more comfortable, wear your mask, install an air-cleaner in your car, diffuse antiviral oil, and when your family is using it, you can steam clean, UV, or use Sanvir smoke to disinfect.
6. Strengthen your immune system. I worked on mine during the pandemic. As we can all get doused in alcohol all we want, if this does not work, we are like sitting ducks. When the pandemic started, I couldn’t even walk 20 minutes on the treadmill without catching a cold afterwards. That’s how low my immunity was. I went on Baron Method to battle this, where they make you a customized program to make sure you get all the nutrients you need and make food your medicine. What I liked about it is that you never deprived yourself and go hungry. They helped me rebalance my system, and now I am happy to report that I can exercise a kilometer on the pool for 30 minutes or on the treadmill five times a week.
7. Check on the safety protocols of the places you will dine in or visit. People are starting to eat out. I have seen a couple of restaurants, but we always choose to eat al fresco or, if not, check beforehand what safety protocol the Restaurant has in place. Usually, if they only say we have a contract tracing form, alcohol, and temperature checker by the door, we would skip it. If they say, are only accepting 50% capacity, tables are socially distanced, and what whole shebang, you know that they are serious in keeping everyone safe.
8. If you will see people, limit your exposure and test. We’ve practiced the travel bubble or carpool bubble, but after 15 months, you already want to see your other friends. If you know you will get together with individuals who have kids, be considerate enough to limit your exposure and test before visiting them. If you cannot commit to this, you should wait than compromise their health.
9. Plan all your errands in one go and one place. The less places you visit, the fewer people you are exposed to. After going out, wash and change your clothes when you get home immediately.
10. Walk and use the stairs. Open-air + exercise need I say more?
After 15 months, hiding is no longer the new normal. Coping and living our lives are. But we cannot do this successfully if we don’t have the discipline to protect ourselves. If we get sick, you cannot blame the government anymore because you should have known better. You cannot say you cannot live your life because we should have adapted by now. If you feel suffocated at home and not taking steps to pro tect yourself, that is now on you.
Let us all work together to reopen our economy and our lives safely.
Jeanette Ipapo-Tuason’s “why” is to help people become better versions of themselves. Married to multi-awarded race car driver JP Tuason and mother of five children, she is a confessed learning junkie (know it all), avid reader, sometimes life coach (gives unsolicited
advice), triathlete (when not allergic to working out), and cook.