As coronavirus, or COVID-19, spreads globally, it’s become an unavoidable topic of conversation that inevitably leads to a set of important questions: What can individuals do to avoid contracting the virus? What will actually help?
Wash your hands
Experts agree that washing your hands frequently is one of the most important acts in preventing virus spread. Specifically, clean hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds. And don’t just grab any soap; pick up an antibacterial cleanser, and paying “good attention to nail beds, fingertips and spaces between fingers” when washing.
Self-quarantine if you feel sick
Stay home if you aren’t feeling well, and encourage your friends and coworkers to do the same. In general, keep your distance from other people. As for what constitutes far enough, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends maintaining at least three feet of distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Should you start to feel ill, stay out of public areas to avoid spreading the sickness. If you do get mild cold or flu symptoms, do not run immediately to your doctor or a health care facility; they can’t do much for you, and you can contaminate both others and the facility itself. If you have to go out, even to a store, try to protect others by staying away from them, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, maybe wearing a mask or gloves. But if you develop more than mild symptoms, particularly if you have any trouble breathing, then seek immediate care
Refrain from touching your face
Don’t touch your face, eyes, nose, and mouth since you can transmit a virus in a single touch. While coming into contact with a contaminated surface won’t immediately confirm the spread, infection occurs when you touch your eyes, your mouth, or the inside of the nose. You can also be infected by breathing in infected droplets or virus suspended in the air from a cough or sneeze, but those don’t last as long in the air as they do on surfaces. Another solution is to wipe down your surroundings with disinfectant wipes before coming into contact with them.
Carry hand sanitizer
Although washing with soap and water is king, coating hands with hand sanitiser is a handy on-the-go method. The CDC recommends an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (for example, Purell has 70%), and Goodman provides helpful tips on proper use: The virus does not instantly die on contact [with hand sanitizer]; you have to rub it completely around your hands, with particular attention to your fingertips, fingernails, and spaces between your fingers for at least 10 to 15 seconds. Your hands should still be wet at 15 seconds. A mere swipe with an alcohol wipe that dries almost immediately is not enough.
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