The novel coronavirus has officially been found to be a type of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. It is highly contagious and can cause life-threatening illness in some people. Typically, the novel coronavirus is a SARS CoV-2 virus that spreads through respiratory droplets from the infected person during sneezing, coughing, or even breathing. Moreover, like any other coronavirus, SARS CoV-2 is known to survive on surfaces for as long as a week in its active form.
This readily increases the risk of infection spread. Moreover, it multiplies the number of people being infected worldwide. Many people may become COVID-19 carries and don’t develop symptoms for a long time. Additionally, they can unknowingly pass on the virus to healthy people.
Currently, there is no vaccine or specific treatment to cure the novel coronavirus. Therefore, it is crucial to follow a proper preventive strategy and stay protected from the infection spread. Today’s article will focus on preventive strategies to stay away from COVID-19 infection. Furthermore, we will discuss the importance of following the guidelines.
Why should you focus on coronavirus prevention tips?
Several medical studies are being carried out worldwide to show why focusing on preventive strategies is crucial during the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the explanations are given below –
- A person without the symptoms of COVID-19 can still be a potential carries of the virus. Moreover, he can unknowingly pass on the virus to a healthy or more vulnerable individual who may become ill.
- The novel coronavirus has a longer incubation time – this means that the time between getting the infection and development of symptoms is longer than any other viral infection. CDC revealed that the novel coronavirus has an incubation period of 2-14 days. (1)
- A clinical survey which tested 82 people in China showed that the viral load ( the number of viruses a person may carry at a time) peaked around 5-6 days after the symptoms began. This means that the virus can spread almost twice as faster than any other viral infection.
- The WHO and CDC have revealed that the novel coronavirus can live in the air for up to 3 hours. Additionally, it can stay alive on the surface of plastic, metal, and stainless steel for about 48-72 hours.
- The novel coronavirus is more likely to spread quickly through your nose and mouth as compared to other routes of transmission. Typically, it covers the respiratory droplet of an infected person during sneezing, coughing, and breathing.
- It travels through the body faster than other viral infections, which means that the virus can infect multiple body tissues and organs in one single day.
What are the preventive strategies for COVID-19?
The World Health Organization has set out a series of preventive strategies to combat against COVID-19 and stay protected –
1. Frequent hand washing
It is essential to wash your hands with a bar of soap and lukewarm water for at least 20 seconds. Cover your wrist, fingers, and areas under fingernails to thoroughly get rid of any contamination that you might have picked up from infected surfaces. You can also use a hand sanitizer that must contain at least 60% of alcohol content.
- Also read: COVID-19 Live Update
2. Do not shake hands or hug people
Currently, the best way is to stay protected is to maintain a distance and not come in physical contact with anyone. Skin to skin contact can quickly pass on the virus and spread infection.
3. Do not touch your face without washing hands
As mentioned earlier, the novel coronavirus can stay active on surfaces for almost 72 hours. During this time, you might unknowingly touch the contaminated surface and get the virus. However, the disease only transmits when the infection reaches the body system. Touching your nose, mouth, and eyes can transmit the virus into the body tissues putting you at risk of contracting the disease. (3)
The Who recommends wearing is not the best way to prevent the disease spread. However, healthcare providers and nurses need to wear masks as they work close to infected patients. Additionally, masks are essential for infected people to ensure that their mouth and nose are covered while sneezing or coughing.
4. Cover your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing
The novel coronavirus primarily spread through respiratory droplets from an infected person while sneezing, coughing, or breathing. Therefore, it is essential to cover your mouth and nose to prevent the disease spread. Moreover, throw the tissue immediately in a covered dustbin.
This is because the virus can stay active for almost three days on surfaces. Therefore, infected tissue papers need to be disposed of immediately. Wash your hands after you sneeze.
5. Do not share your items
Mobile phones, makeup, combs, utensils, and even straws are some of the things that can transmit the disease rapidly from person to person. It is essential to teach children first not to share any personal items even among the family members.
6. Disinfect surfaces
Alcohol-based disinfectants are an excellent option to clean the hard surfaces at homes such as countertops, doorknobs, toys, and furniture. Additionally, clean the phone, laptop, and items that you might use regularly.
7. Wash your groceries
Grocery packages should also be cleaned thoroughly. You can use a solution of food-based hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar. After washing, let the grocery dry properly before storing them in the fridge or cupboard.
An antibacterial wash can also be used to wash your groceries. Moreover, wash your hands before and after handling fresh produce.
8. Follow social distancing
Ideally, social distancing means isolating yourself and staying at home. Work remotely from home. In case you have to go out for necessities, maintain a distance of at least six feet from people around you. (4) It is advisable not to travel via flight, train or bus.
9. Avoid mass public gatherings
Avoid going to religious places of worship, events that may include multiple people coming together. Also, avoid going to parks and beaches where you may find large groups of people. This can lead to an increased risk of disease spread.
10. Avoid eating outside food
It is not the right time to go out to eat. Avoid going to coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and any other eateries. Doing so can increase the risk of disease spread through contaminated utensils, dishes, or even cups. Although this might be a restriction, you can still takeaway food or get food delivery. However, make sure you order food that is well cooked.
A study revealed that high heat around 132°F/56°C helps to kill coronavirus. However, this study has not been verified with scientific data or clinical trials.
11. Eat fully cooked food
Do not eat undercooked or half-cooked food. Consume only fully cooked food. Also, you should avoid cross-contamination between half-cooked / raw foods and cooked / ready to eat foods in your kitchen. (5)
12. Avoid contact with wild animals
As per WHO, the ecological reservoir of COVID-19 virus SARS CoV-2 is believed to be bats. (6) Also, the transmission of this virus to humans has probably happened through an animal host. This animal has not been identified but it could be a domestic or wild animal.
Therefore, it is advisable to keep yourself away from wild animals or visiting live animal markets, wet markets, or animal product markets.
13. Self-isolate yourself when you are sick
It is best to stay home if you feel ill and monitor your symptoms regularly. Avoid sitting or sleeping or even eating with your family as you might put the mat the risk of infection spread. Wear a mask and wash your hands frequently during the day. Contact your doctor for medical care if you feel your symptoms are worsening.
When should you contact a doctor?
It is essential to gauge the level of sickness first. If you feel you or any of your family members have are not able to recover from the symptoms of COVID-19, contact your doctor, and discuss the possible treatments to manage the symptoms.
However, if you feel the symptoms are worsening, and there is a higher chance that you or your family member has COVID-19 get proper medical attention. Some of the emergency conditions include –
- Pain in the chest
- Difficulty breathing (2)
- Drowsiness and fatigue
Take away message
COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease that spreads from an infected person through respiratory droplets while sneezing or coughing. Moreover, the virus can stay active for almost three days on surfaces. There is no current vaccine or treatment for the novel coronavirus. Washing your hands, staying at home, and avoiding public places are some of the crucial preventive strategies that can help to combat the deadly disease.
The best way to stay protected is to follow the WHO recommended guidelines to prevent the disease spread. If you feel sick and the symptoms are worsening, contact your doctor to get proper medical attention.