How To Prevent Transmission & Contraction Of COVID-19
by Joe Johnson, on March 17,2020
The novel coronavirus causing the disease COVID-19 is taking the world by storm. Countries across the globe place strict restrictions on their citizens as infection rates rise in an effort to slow the disease. Containment is a difficult mission and its success is dependent on, well, everyone. We must all do our part to protect ourselves, and in turn, protect those around us. The first key to being a positive force against this disease is understanding how it is spread.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. Experts at the CDC say that being within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 puts you at risk of infection. The pathogens can also be spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby, or possibly inhaled into the lungs. There is also a possibility for infection through surfaces contaminated by an infected person.
Prevention & Protection
With a strong understanding of the highly contagious COVID-19, we can better fight transmission and contraction. And since no vaccine is currently available, added precautions must be taken to help curb infection rates.
Proper handwashing is currently being shouted from the rooftops, for a reason. Proper hand hygiene is your best defense against the contraction of COVID-19 and also is the most important step in preventing further spread.
- 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. Check out this step-by-step handwashing guide.
- 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.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
It is also important to consider skin health when focusing on hand hygiene. With all the extra washing and sanitizing taking place during a time like this, you are very likely to experience dry hands. Dehydrated skin can crack and provide the perfect place for harmful pathogens to flourish. It is important to moisturize throughout the day to ensure healthy skin. Check out this article on the importance of skin health.
Social distancing is a term applied to certain actions taken by public health officials to stop or slow the spread of a highly contagious disease, like COVID-19. Social distancing measures include limiting the gathering of large groups of people, closing buildings, and canceling events. While the measures currently being taken globally as well as here in the US may seem dramatic, they are crucial to the containment of this disease. It’s our job to respect the restrictions put in place by our government and communities and do what we can to avoid large groups of people and unnecessary travel.
If you do contract COVID-19 it’s crucial you take precautions to avoid infecting others.
- Stay home if you are sick. This is not the time to be the tough person in the office who never takes a day. By going out, whether to the grocery store or into the office, you’re creating risk for everyone you come in contact with, as well as those you may not even see but are going to be visiting that same location later.
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately clean your hands.
- Wear a facemask if you are sick. You should wear a facemask if able when you are around other people like in a car or the same room. If you are unable to wear a facemask then have those caring for you wear one. If you are not sick you do not need to wear a facemask unless the person you are caring for cannot wear one. Facemasks may be in short supply and should be reserved for caregivers.
- Clean & Disinfect. Cleaning and disinfecting are separate things; cleaning is removing and disinfecting is killing. It is important to clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. In order to maintain the efficacy of your disinfectant its crucial that the surface is clean first. Use detergent and water to remove any debris and then sanitize with a disinfectant. Most EPA-registered household disinfectant products will work. Check out this list of products curated by the EPA that are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data on harder to kill viruses.
In the midst of a pandemic, services that we take for granted are put under immense levels of stress. Grocery stores are scrambling to stock up supplies and health services are working tirelessly to meet demand. Containment is so important because it allows these necessary services to catch up.
We also need to think of those who are at higher risk of having complications. Even though the majority of those who contract COVID-19 will have very mild symptoms and a brief recovery, this disease is still very dangerous to the elderly and those who may have compromised immune systems. If you belong to one of those groups check out this article from the CDC on how to prepare with your situation in mind.
If you take the attitude of ignoring precautions and continuing your days as though there is no risk you are creating great risk for those less fortunate and taking us farther from containment and normalcy. In this time we must empathize with those at greater risk and follow the recommended guidelines to make the world a healthier and safer place.
Facts over fear. Clean hands. Open hearts.