In the face of the coronavirus epidemic, this is an opportunity to remember the various prevention measures and the most effective way to protect yourself from the virus according to experts.
If these measures are well done, this is what will work best against the virus.
Washing your hands well, the first barrier gesture
As with any epidemic, regular and effective hand washing is essential to reduce the risk of contagion. Let’s see the different recommendations of the health authorities to wash your hands well:
- Pass them under water;
- Preferably rinse with liquid soap and then scrub for 30 seconds;
- Thorough washing should include nails, fingertips, palms, and the outside of the hands, knuckles, and wrists;
- Rinse them with clean water;
- Dry your hands with a clean towel or disposable hand towel.
This habit allows you to inactivate the virus if it is present on your hands. Repeat this gesture as soon as necessary, either:
- As soon as you get to your home or office;
- After taking public transport;
- After each visit to the bathroom;
- Before caring for a child and after changing it;
- Before cooking or going to the table,
- After coughing or sneezing.
Hydroalcoholic gel, an ally in the face of epidemics
In the absence of soap and water, use a hydroalcoholic gel to wash your hands. The rules are the same, the gesture must be repeated whenever necessary. To disinfect your hands, the gel is as effective as washing with soap and water. A little clarification anyway, hydroalcoholic solutions disinfect but don’t clean; therefore, they cannot replace washing with soap and water when hands are dirty.
Use of masks
Since the beginning of the epidemic, pharmacies have had to cope with an increased demand for respiratory masks. Is this use useful to protect against disease? Official recommendations are decisive. The use of masks is essential to avoid transmitting the disease through sneezing (coughing, sneezing). The “respiratory protection” masks (type FFP2), equipped with a device to filter dust and pathogens, are particularly indicated for “people in contact with sick people, to avoid contaminating the nurses or doctors who treat them.” For the latter, the use of gloves and protective glasses is also foreseen. Whenever possible, it is recommended to buy ffp2 masks.
But the recommendations have evolved regarding the use of masks by the general public. A study by researchers at the University of Maryland suggests that Its use reduces the spread of the pandemic because the virus is transmitted through very small droplets that move in aerosols through the air exhaled by infected people, whether they have symptoms or not.
Don’t touch your face
In general, and particularly during an epidemic, avoid putting your hands to your nose, mouth, or even eyes as much as possible. In fact, the hands may have been in contact with contaminated surfaces.
In an elevator, it’s hard respect social distance and the air is stuffy. Not to mention the buttons, pressed by many people and, therefore, potentially vectors of the virus. But then how do you protect yourself if you have to take it regularly?
Some habits are essential:
- Take the stairs whenever possible;
- Otherwise, if you see that someone is already in the elevator, wait for the next one;
- If you can’t help it, turn your back on the person inside with you;
- Always wear a mask;
- Do not touch your face after pressing the buttons;
- Wash your hands well as soon as possible after use (with soap and water for at least 30 seconds when you get home or in your office for example or with hydroalcoholic gel if you have no other possibility);
- Avoid pressing the button with your fingers, instead use a tool like a pen or wrench or possibly your elbow if you have nothing else (you are less likely to touch your face with it).
You can also choose the periodic cleaning of call buttons, control buttons and handrail. To do this, you can use products based on bleach or alcohol at least 70%, taking care to handle them carefully, as they can damage the skin as well as certain materials.
Clean surfaces and everyday objects regularly
A study published on March 4 in the American journal JAMA showed that patients with the virus contaminated their bedrooms and bathrooms. To prevent the spread of the virus, strict hygiene is essential. In fact, scientists have shown that if environmental contamination was a potential means of transmission, the virus did not survive cleaning with a commonly used disinfectant, which is done twice a day.
The study was conducted by researchers from the National Center for Infectious Diseases Singapore and DSO National Laboratories. From late January to early February, they examined the rooms of three patients kept in isolation. They tested one of the chambers before daily cleaning and the other two after disinfection measures. For the first room, the patient presented a simple cough, while the other two showed more severe symptoms with cough, fever, shortness of breath in one and cough with lung mucus in the other.
As a result, of the 15 surfaces tested, the first patient had contaminated 13, including his chair, bed, window, and the floor. In her bathroom, 3 out of 5 tested surfaces were found to be contaminated, including the sink and toilet bowl. This suggests that feces are a route of transmission. The air samples from his room were negative, while those taken from his air vents were positive. Therefore, contaminated droplets can be carried by air currents. In contrast, the other two chambers analyzed after being cleaned did not show traces of the virus.
During an epidemic and to minimize the risk of contamination, keep your home clean and tidy by cleaning all surfaces regularly. You can use soapy water or white vinegar. The virus can remain on objects. It is best to use bleach to disinfect the interior.
How long does the virus survive on surfaces?
According to a study published by American researchers in the prebuplication journal MedRxiv, the virus could survive anywhere other than the human body and its lifespan would vary depending on the contaminated surface:
- 3 hours in the air;
- 24h on cardboard;
- 3 days maximum on plastic and steel;
- 4 days in wood;
- 5 days on glass.
This study has not yet been confirmed by the scientific community. It is also too early to tell if these particles are still contagious.
Avoid close contacts
The coronavirus is transmitted by postilions, particularly by coughing and sneezing. Close contact is now considered necessary for transmission of the virus. It is recommended to limit close human contact.
Avoid crowded places, especially hospitals
To limit the risk of exposure to the virus, it is recommended to avoid crowded places and meetings, which are still prohibited. Hospitals should also be avoided whenever possible for obvious reasons. If you are forced to go there, scrupulously observe hygiene measures.
Respect the hygiene rules in case of cough
If you cough or sneeze, always cover your mouth, preferably with the inside of your elbow. Wash your hands every time, use clean tissues that you then dispose of in a covered trash can.
What to do if there is a risk of exposure to the virus?
- Observe the incubation period and remain in quarantine, symptoms can take up to 14 days to appear;
- At the first symptoms such as fever, cough or dyspnea, call the Covid service numbers of the different Autonomous Communities;
- Wear a spray mask to protect those around you;
- Avoid human contact, especially with fragile people (the elderly, immunosuppressed, pregnant women);
- Stay home until healed.