How to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and protect yourself?
|INNOMED-UP Project to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: enicbcmed.eu|
What is COVID-19?
A new virus called the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was identified as the cause of a disease outbreak that began in China in 2019. The disease is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 a pandemic. Public health groups, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO, are monitoring the pandemic and posting updates on their websites. These groups have also issued recommendations for preventing the spread of the virus.
Know how it spreads
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 spreads easily from person to person, mainly by the following routes:
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet).
- Respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes, sings, or talks.
- Respiratory droplets cause infection when they are inhaled or deposited on mucous membranes, such as those that line the inside of the nose and mouth.
- People who are infected but do not have symptoms can also spread the virus to others.
The symptoms of COVID-19
Covid-19 symptoms can be very mild to severe. Some people have no symptoms. The most common symptoms are fever, cough, and tiredness.
Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, muscle aches, chills, sore throat, headache, chest pain, and loss of taste or smell. This list is not all-inclusive. Other less common symptoms have also been reported. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure.
How to protect yourself
The CDC and WHO recommend following these precautions:
Wash your hands often
|Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Photo: unicef.org|
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
It’s especially important to wash:
- Before eating or preparing food
- Before touching your face
- After using the restroom
- After leaving a public place
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After handling your mask
- After changing a diaper
- After caring for someone sick
- After touching animals or pets
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
Avoiding touching the face
People should avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, especially if they are unwashed. This can help limit the spread of germs and reduce the likelihood of them getting sick.
The hands come into contact with several surfaces throughout the day, and they may pick up viruses this way. A new report suggests that SARS-CoV-2 can remain on certain surfaces for up to 3 days.
If a person then touches their face, viruses can transfer to the eyes, nose, or mouth and enter the body.
Avoid close contact
- Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
- Outside your home: Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
- Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.
- Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
- Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Cover your mouth and nose with a mask
|Wear a mask to protect yourself. Photo: aa.com.tr|
Masks help prevent you from getting or spreading the virus. Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
SARS-CoV-2 is found in high amounts in the nose and mouth. This means it can be carried by air droplets to other people when you cough, sneeze or talk. It can also land on hard surfaces and stay there for up to 3 days.
According to Healthline, you should use a tissue or sneeze into your elbow to keep your hands as clean as possible. Wash your hands carefully after you sneeze or cough, regardless.
Clean and disinfect surfaces
Use alcohol-based disinfectants to clean hard surfaces in your home like:
- door handles
Also, clean your phone, laptop, and anything else you use regularly several times a day.
Disinfect areas after you bring groceries or packages into your home.
Use white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide solutions for general cleaning in between disinfecting surfaces.
What to do if you feel unwell
COVID-19 symptoms. Photo: aa.com.tr
- Know the full range of symptoms of COVID-19. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include loss of taste or smell, aches, and pains, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, red eyes, diarrhea, or a skin rash.
- Stay home and self-isolate even if you have minor symptoms such as cough, headache, mild fever until you recover. Call your health care provider or hotline for advice. Have someone bring you supplies. If you need to leave your house or have someone near you, wear a medical mask to avoid infecting others.
- If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately. Call by telephone first, if you can, and follow the directions of your local health authority.
- Keep up to date on the latest information from trusted sources, such as WHO or your local and national health authorities. Local and national authorities and public health units are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
Protect Your Health This Flu Season
It’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter. Healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating both patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. This means getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever.
While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19 there are many important benefits, such as:
1. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.
2. Getting a flu vaccine can also save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.
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