The coronavirus is one of the saddest truths of our time. The sooner we accept it, the better we can protect ourselves and those we live from the harms of this pathogen.
In addition, we all can follow a number of hygiene practices and tips to keep ourselves safe from getting infected by the COVID-19 virus.
COVID-19, or generally called the Coronavirus diseases, is a disease caused by the infection of a newly discovered species of coronavirus.
According to WHO (World Health Organization), the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to follow proper health and hygiene practices, which include maintaining social distance from others, especially those who are already infected by this virus, using a mask, avoid touching surfaces, frequently washing hands with soap or sanitizer, among others. In short, staying clean is the best way to stay protected against the coronavirus.
How Does the COVID-19 Virus Work?
The coronavirus spreads through human contact as well as through respiration. So, when you come in contact with an infected person, you can get the virus through small droplets coming from their mouth or nose.
In addition, the virus can also reach surfaces and objects through these droplets and to another person from there.
So, the ideal way to avoid getting infected by COVID-19 is to avoid any kind of physical contact with others, especially the ones who have been already infected by the virus.
As of yet, there has been no cure or vaccination found to treat the coronavirus, however, some general-purpose medicines, including Hydroxychloroquine (used for the treatment of Malaria) have been found effective in limiting the virus effects.
So, for now, the best and probably the only way to fight this distress is to maintain social distance and follow the safety tips recommended by the respective governments and health authorities.
Health and Hygiene Practices to Protect Yourself from COVID-19
Here are some health & hygiene practices you can follow to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19.
The ideal way to keep yourself and others safe from the infection of COVID-19 is to isolate yourself. In other words, it’s called self-quarantine, which is the practice of isolating a person who may have been found affected by the virus.
However, self-quarantine is only mandatory for those who have been found infected by the virus or have come in contact with an infected person or thing, in order to prevent the spread. But, if you want total safety against the virus, isolating yourself for some time is the best approach.
Self-quarantine doesn’t mean that you have to completely isolate yourself from others and have no contact or communication at all. It simply means that you have to try and stay physically distant from people.
When you keep yourself away from others, the virus will have no way to travel from one person or thing to another.
Maintain Social Distancing
In the real world, however, it’s difficult to keep yourself isolated for many days, if not impossible. Man is a social animal, who needs to communicate and be with others. So, if that’s your issue, at least try and maintain social distancing with others.
What it essentially means is that you should maintain a minimum distance of 2 meters or 6 feet from other people. This is the perfect way to avoid physical touch or come in close contact for the virus to transmit to your body.
Keep your distance from others. Avoid going to crowded places like markets or malls. Conduct your meetings online, as far as possible. Avoiding shaking hands or being too close when talking to someone.
Use a Mask
Using a non-medical, cloth face mask is an ideal way to prevent the virus from entering your body (or coming out) through your nose or mouth. This is particularly essential in public places where you cannot maintain social distancing.
The people who have already been infected by COVID-19 may take 24-72 hours before showing any symptoms.
So, you never know if the person next to you in the grocery store might have been infected by the virus, which can easily transfer to you through respiration or touch. So, always wear a mask when coming in contact with others.
Avoid Physical Contact
One of the few thighs we know about COVID-19 is that it spreads through physical contact or touch. So, whenever you’re touching a common surface or a person, you are practically inviting the virus infection. So, try and avoid touching anyone or anything.
Once COVID-19 reaches your body/skin on your hands or anywhere else, the only way for it to enter inside the body is through your mouth, nose or eyes.
So, you should avoid touching your face, nose and eyes at any cost. Also, avoid physical contact with anyone and anything, as much as possible.
Wash Hands Frequently
Wash your hands with soap or alcohol-based sanitiser, for about 20 seconds, at least once every couple of hours. Also, wash your hands immediately after coming into contact with an infected surface or person.
WHO recommends that you should wash your hands with water and soap and rub properly for least 20 seconds to get rid of any virus, including COVID-19. If you need help timing it, sing the full happy birthday song twice (takes about 20 seconds).
This must be done on a frequent basis and also immediately after touching a surface, talking to another person, sneezing, coughing, using the restroom, before and after eating or preparing food, etc.
This is to make sure that even if you got the virus somehow on your hands, it’s immediately removed before it can get inside your body.
Clean & Disinfect
Besides personal hygiene and wearing a mask, cleaning is another nice way to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
It has been suggested that the coronavirus can also be found on surfaces and survive there for up to 48 hours, from where it can easily get to your hands or body through touch and eventually infect you when you touch your mouth or nose.
So, keep the surfaces clean and disinfect common touch areas and things such as water taps, tabletops, keyboard, light switches, door handles & knobs, tv remote, mobile phone, toilet seat, tiles, etc.
Disinfectants are known to be effective in removing the viruses, so make sure to regularly disinfect these surfaces using a good quality disinfectant.
Experts recommend using an EPA-registered disinfectant or a solution with at least 70% alcohol for the best result against COVID-19. Before disinfecting a surface or thing, clean it well for dust and dirt.
Then, use a clean cloth to wipe the surface with disinfectant. Let the surface or product dry naturally before using it again. This is an important step. DO NOT dry the surface manually, as you must leave the solution on the surface for as long as it takes to dry naturally.
In addition, all other surfaces where you may have dropped respiratory droplets by accident, including kitchen counter, gas stove, tabletops, desktops, etc. must also be cleaned and disinfected regularly. And disinfect your mobile phone multiple times a day.
Change into clean clothes every time you return from the market or any other crowded place. Clean your dirty clothes, best sheets, towels, etc. regularly using soap or detergent. Avoid sharing towels with other people. Wash your hands properly after doing your laundry.
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Avoid letting the Virus enter your home
If you have to go out of your home for some reason, make sure to cover yourself properly, wear a mask and keep a sanitizer with you. Do not go out if you are feeling sick. Immediately seek medical support in the case.
Once you get back, disinfect yourself properly before entering your home.
If you are carrying any items, groceries, etc. with you, disinfect everything. Change the clothes & shoes you were wearing and wash them right away. Take a bath if possible.
If you have been out for a considerable time period and came in contact with other people, use a mask even when you’re home and keep yourself in quarantine, if possible.
Food Safety from COVID-19
Food is something we eat, which makes it one of the easiest ways for the coronavirus to transmit to our body from the surface of a food item. To avoid that, clean all your food items, fruits & vegetables thoroughly with tap water.
Dispose of the food packaging and containers immediately after use. Disinfect canned and packaged food items before storing. Wash your hands with soap, before and afterwards.
Before starting to cook food, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. Cook your food properly.
Use clean water. Clean the kitchen surface, top, tiles, utensils, etc. immediately after you’re done cooking or eating. Wash your hands with soap and water.
When it comes to the coronavirus, prevention is better than cure. In fact, prevention might be the only way to protect yourself from this virus, as we have no cure as of yet.
Maintaining social distancing and practising personal hygiene are some of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. Keep your home clean and disinfect everything and everyone coming from the outside before letting them enter your house.
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