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    Tips Before Visiting a Hospital During Coronavirus

    We are now in the midst of a global pandemic, something most of us have never experienced.  In some areas panic has set in.  But the experts tell us that there’s no need for panic, just planning and extra care.

    Many of us will have to visit a hospital or other health care facility during this time. Perhaps we need to be treated, or have a family member, friend or loved one who is in the hospital.  What should you do if you need to visit a hospital during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak?

    Here are a few tips to consider before visiting a hospital during the Coronavirus outbreak:

    1. Avoid going to any hospital or nursing home unless it is necessary. Many hospitals will be overloaded with patients and people trying to figure out if they have Coronavirus.  This is also flu season and many who have basic flu strains may go to the hospital as a precaution.

    2. If you do go to a hospital, take precautions (many of which are precautions you should employ elsewhere as well).

    3. Check on the visitation policy at the hospital in advance.  Many hospitals have now limited visitors to immediate family members over 13 years old.

    4. Wash your hands thoroughly and in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) handwashing protocol. See the video below which shows the proper – and best known – handwashing technique to clean your hands. 

    5. Do not touch your face. Any contact with your face exposes you to the bacteria and germs that can spread any infection or virus, including COVID-19.  Pay careful attention not to touch your mouth, eyes or nose.  If you touch your face, wash your hands thoroughly.

    6. If you sneeze, it is best to do it in a tissue and throw it away and thoroughly wash your hands (see #3 above).  If you do not have a tissue, sneeze into your elbow so as not to spray droplets into the air.

    7. Social distancing: We have been told that we should maintain a distance of at least 3 feet from others. If you are near anyone that appears ill at all, keep a 6 foot distance from them.

    8. Do not shake hands or have physical contact with anyone in or around the hospital. Elbow bumps and waves have replaced traditional handshakes. No more hugs or kisses for now!

    9. Avoid touching hard surfaces with your hands at the hospital. Use tissues or paper towels to open doors.  If you have to touch any surface – a door handle, counter, pen, clipboard or anything else – wash or disinfect your hands as soon as you can afterward.  If you can’t wash with soap, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. Most hospitals have these readily available throughout the premises.

    10. If you don’t feel well, stay home.  That goes for visits to any hospital or any other place.  The only time you should go to the hospital if you do not feel well is if you think you need to be treated there.  Keep in mind that hospitals are full of germs and other viruses. If you have a compromised immune system or are weakened by an illness you are more susceptible to other nasty germs and bacteria. 

    11. If you are going to visit someone in the hospital, ask before you go.  They might not want visitors. They might not want to be exposed to anything from outside. They may be told to remain in isolation. Always better to ask in advance.

    12. Be prepared to be subjected to a screening.  You may have your temperature taken and may be asked if you have had a fever in the past 3 days, whether you have a runny nose or any signs of any illness or virus. If you have traveled, especially to any known hot spot for Coronavirus, let them know.

    13. If you think you have COVID-19 or think you have been exposed to it:

      1. Stay home!  Do not go any place where you might spread the virus.  If we are going to contain or minimize the spread, you need to stay put and not spread it.  Even well-intentioned travel can spread the virus
      2. Avoid any public transportation or any place where people are present, especially in close quarters.
      3. Wear a mask.  Masks are most effective for helping those with the illness prevent the spread.  Make sure the mask fits well over the mouth and nose. And avoid touching it.
      4. Wash your hands frequently.  Keep them from touching areas that others will touch.
      5. Stay away from other people and pets. As hard as it is, avoid touching animals in your home.  If you have to, make sure you wear a face mask and wash your hands before and after touching them.
      6. If you need to seek further medical care, call ahead.  Call your doctor’s office in advance and follow their instructions.
      7. If you use a tissue to wipe your nose or when you sneeze, throw the tissues away in a lined trashcan that will not spread to others.
      8. Do not share household items like plates, cups, silverware or towels.
      9. Around your home you should frequently clean all surfaces and items that are touched by you and others. Use disinfectants and disinfecting wipes on surfaces, doorknobs, counters, phones, keyboards, toilets and furniture.

    Leighton Panoff Law is a Florida personal injury trial law firm located in Miami and Orlando.  We help people who have had the worst thing happen to them and families who have lost loved ones because of negligence, defective products and violent crime.  While we work hard to help improve the lives of our clients, we are all responsible for helping our country – and our world – stay healthy in the face of Coronavirus.

    With the rapid spread of COVID-19, major institutions have postponed or cancelled events.  The NBA, Major League Baseball have cancelled or suspended seasons.  The NCAA has canceled its March Madness tournament.  Concerts and Broadway shows are being postponed.  Life as we know it has changed. 

    If we all adhere to reasonable precautions we can limit the spread of this virus.  Hopefully the coming months will bring some good news and possibly effective treatments. Realistically a vaccine is a year or more away.

    But we can all help keep ourselves and others around us healthy by practicing good hygiene and social distancing.   That means going to hospitals should be limited and involve extra care.

    Article by:

    John Leighton

    A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite


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