Don’t Get Spray Paint on Your Face

Are you finding the government’s current messages a little confusing? If so you are probably not in the minority and here’s why.

In the first phase of lockdown the message was simple and clear. Unless you are an essential worker, stay at home. A straightforward and relatively uncomplicated piece of guidance. The difficulty in releasing lockdown in stages is that the messaging moves from one clear instruction to a range of options and this compels us to carry out frequent risk assessments in order to avoid infection. A big ask? The English government’s message is ‘Stay Alert’ but let’s face it most of us are not skilled in infection control are we? When we go to the supermarket the owners give us clear guidance on how to behave, but what do we do when we use a road crossing? Is it safe to press the button?Don't Get Spray Paint on Your Face

I want to share with you a method I employ for such assessments in my acupuncture practice. To illustrate this I am going to consider two individuals in this Covid-19 transmission scenario and apply it to the road crossing scenario.

  1. I am a spreader of infection and liable to infect others
  2. I pick up an infection from someone else

So imagine if you, person 1 sneeze, only instead of spreading invisible droplets you are spraying bright red paint. How does it get to another person’s face (and hence to their nose or mouth)?

If you are in close proximity to people, such as on public transport this may be obvious (and I’m not going into detail here). If however you are about to cross the road and accidently spray the crossing controls bright red, the next person to touch this button (person 2) will probably smudge it onto their face within minutes. So which practices would make a difference to this transmission chain and avoid someone getting a red face?

If (person 1) you were wearing a face mask or covering when you sneezed the paint would probably be contained. In circumstances where you had no covering but the person who pressed the button (person 2) was wearing gloves (and safely disposed of them after touching it) or washed their hands afterwards, no paint would be transferred to their face. And finally they could of course use their elbow to press the button as they would be unlikely to subsequently touch their elbow to their face.

Not risk free but reduced risk. In my experience sensible and proportionate steps are best when judging everyday situations.

I hope this has been helpful. In the meantime stay safe and don’t get spray paint on your face.