Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
B. TIPS FOR PREVENTION
NOTWITHSTANDING IF YOU ARE WEARING A FACE MASK OR NOT, THE NCDC STILL RECOMMENDS THAT YOU:
1. WASH YOUR HANDS - regularly. Use warm water and soap and rub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Work the lather to your wrists, between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
You can also use an antibacterial and antiviral soap. Use hand sanitizer when you cannot wash your hands properly. Rewash your hands several times a day, especially after touching anything including your phone or laptop.
2. COVER YOUR FACE WHEN COUGHING - Coronavirus 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 or sneeze. It can also land on hard surfaces and stay there for up to 3 days.
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.
3. AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE – The Coronavirus can live on hard surfaces for up to 72 hours. You can get the virus on your hands if you touch a surface like a doorknob, gas pump handle, or your cell phone.
Avoid touching any part of your face or head including your mouth, nose, and eyes. Also avoid biting your fingernails. This can give the Virus a chance to go from your hands into your body.
4. STAY AT HOME - Except for essential trips outside like trips to the grocery store or to see your doctor. This is also called sheltering in place.
5. PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING – If you are carrying the Covid - 19 virus, it will be found in high amounts in your spit (sputum). This can happen even if you do not have symptoms.
Social distancing means staying home and working remotely when possible. If you must go out for necessities, keep a distance of 6 feet from other people. You can transmit the virus by speaking to someone in close contact to you.
6. CLEAN AND DISINFECT – Use alcohol-based disinfectants to clean hard surfaces in your home like countertops, door handles, furniture, and toys. 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.
7. DON’T SHARE PERSONAL ITEMS - Do not share personal items like phones, makeup, or combs. It’s also important not to share eating utensils and straws. Teach children to recognize their reusable cup, straw, and other dishes for their own use only.
8. STOP SHAKING HANDS AND HUGGING PEOPLE — FOR NOW
Similarly, avoid touching other people. Skin to skin contact can pass the Covid – 19 from one person to another.
9. DO NOT GATHER IN GROUPS
Being in a group or gathering makes it more likely that you will be in close contact with someone. This includes avoiding all religious places of worship, as you may have to sit or stand too close to another congregant. It also includes congregating at parks or beaches.
10. AVOID EATING OR DRINKING IN PUBLIC PLACES
Now is not the time to go out to eat. This means avoiding restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and other eateries. The virus can be transmitted through food, utensils, dishes, and cups. It may also be airborne from other people in the venue.
You can still get delivery or takeaway food. Choose foods that are thoroughly cooked and can be reheated. High heat (at least 132°F/56°C, according to one recent, not-yet-peer-reviewed lab study) helps to kill coronaviruses. This means it may be best to avoid cold foods from restaurants and all food from buffets and open salad bars.
11. WASH FRESH GROCERIES
Soak all raw, whole fruits and vegetables in a solution of food-grade hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar. Let dry before putting them away in your fridge and cupboards. You can also use vegetable antibacterial wash to clean produce. Wash your hands before and after handling fresh produce.
12. WEAR A (HOMEMADE) MASK
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendsTrusted Source that almost everyone wear a cloth face mask in public settings where social distancing may be difficult, such as grocery stores.
When used correctly, these masks can help prevent people who are asymptomatic or undiagnosed from transmitting SARS-CoV-2 when they breathe, talk, sneeze, or cough. This, in turn, slows the spread of the virus.
The CDC’s website provides instructionsTrusted Source for making your own mask at home, using basic materials such as a T-shirt and scissors.C. HOW TO PUT ON, USE, TAKE OFF AND DISPOSE OF A MASK?
- I. Remember, a mask should only be used by health workers, care takers, and individuals with respiratory symptoms, such as fever and cough.
- Before touching the mask, clean hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
- Take the mask and inspect it for tears or holes.
- Orient which side is the top side (where the metal strip is).
- Ensure the proper side of the mask faces outwards (the coloured side).
- Place the mask to your face. Pinch the metal strip or stiff edge of the mask so it moulds to the shape of your nose.
- Pull down the mask’s bottom so it covers your mouth and your chin.
- After use, take off the mask; remove the elastic loops from behind the ears while keeping the mask away from your face and clothes, to avoid touching potentially contaminated surfaces of the mask.
- Discard the mask in a closed bin immediately after use.
- Perform hand hygiene after touching or discarding the mask – Use alcohol-based hand rub or, if visibly soiled, wash your hands with soap and water.