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Understanding Isolation, Quarantine, and Social Distancing

Mar 19 · 2 min read
Alt: Two doodles practice social distancing by standing 6 feet apart.

Here at We ❤ Health Literacy Headquarters, of course we’re paying close attention to health officials’ efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus. And we can’t help but notice they’re using lots of words that seem to mean the same thing — like isolation, quarantine, and social distancing.

As you’ve surely noticed, people are panicking — and confusing terms won’t help. The possibility that you’ll need to quarantine yourself is especially worrisome if you don’t really understand what that means!

As health communicators, our job isn’t just to report that isolation, quarantine, and social distancing are happening — it’s also to help people understand those terms. If you need a refresher yourself, check out our plain language definitions:

And what’s with the 6-feet rule, you ask? That’s how far experts think respiratory droplets containing coronavirus can travel through the air when someone sneezes or coughs.

Oh, and while you’re helping your audiences understand all these words, make sure they know what a pandemic is. And try to bust a few coronavirus myths and misconceptions while you’re at it.

The bottom line: If you’re writing about isolation, quarantine, and social distancing, explain these terms in words your readers understand.

Tweet about it: Need to explain isolation, quarantine, and social distancing in your #coronavirus #HealthLit materials? @CommunicateHlth can help:


Do you ❤ health literacy? We sure do!


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Do you ❤ health literacy? We sure do!

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