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Health - Public Health News

Posted on: June 24, 2020

How to talk to friends and family about COVID-19

COVID-19 has been present in our community for a few months and has drastically changed how we live. Unfortunately, there is some misinformation about it, and some people aren’t taking it seriously. It can be difficult to talk to someone who doesn’t believe it is that serious, won’t wear a mask, or maintain physical distance. Here are some ideas on how to effectively talk to people about the importance of maintaining healthy habits around COVID-19.

Make it personal

People are far more likely to try and understand something if they can relate to it. When you make wearing a mask personal by saying, “I wear a mask because I’m concerned about my grandmother who is at higher risk,” it will make a stronger impact than sharing all of the science around how masks keep infection rates down. When someone understands how their decisions will directly affect themselves or their loved ones, they may be more likely to make better decisions to keep themselves and others healthy. 

Don’t blame or shame

Many people naturally get defensive when being blamed or shamed for something. This can lead to people shutting down and not wanting to listen to what you have to say. Instead, you can relate to their concerns by stating that we are all frustrated by this virus and how it has affected our lives. That can open the way for a productive conversation about how we can slow the spread in our community.

Stick to the facts about COVID-19 

Don’t exaggerate or minimize the risks associated with COVID-19. Sticking with the facts makes for a stronger case when talking to someone about how best to respond to COVID-19. There is a lot of misinformation about COVID-19. Use and share sources where you can be confident about the information you are getting, like the Washington State Department of Health, or the CDC

Everyone has been affected by COVID-19 in some way, and we are all responding to it differently. Whatcom County’s ability to lower our case numbers is dependent on all of us following guidance that has been proven to slow the spread. Talking to our friends and loved ones about the importance of maintaining physical distancing, wearing a mask and washing our hands will help reinforce that we are all responsible for doing our part.

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