Once again, our resident Health and Safety expert, Mike Kelly, has put out a very useful article. This one is about learning how to protect youself from coronavirus infection: keep your hands and fingers away from possibly infected surfaces.
Mike writes a regular blog on matters concerning Health and Safety and you can find it at safetymoose.com
How to protect yourself from being infected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Firstly, avoid the media hype.
Most of you reading this article are seriously concerned about contracting the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19). You need to know how to protect yourself from it.
Many of you are scared. I know that my wife is taking her temperature 3 times a day and is convinced she is sick. She’s not. She’s just bought into the hype.
This article won’t bore you with all the statistics on why you have a reasonably low chance of contracting COVID-19 coronavirus.
Instead, I will give you some new habits to form to protect yourself while out in public or at work.
Be sure to check the World Health Organisation Website daily for expert advice and to avoid all the silly myths floating around on Facebook etc.
Why take my advice?
I spent some time in offshore environments as an HSE Advisor. At times, we had over 600 people on close-quarter accommodation barges for long periods of time.
Outbreaks of the common cold were (ahem) common. Believe me, we learned from those outbreaks how to protect ourselves and stay healthy in a crowded environment.
Tip 1: Don’t bother with the surgical masks
They are only effective to protect others from your illnesses like the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Furthermore, in this heat, you will be tempted to rub your face more with the mask on, and opening up the possibility that the virus from your hands can get into your body.
The mouth, nose and eyes are common “routes of entry” for diseases and viruses.
Furthermore, surgical masks cannot filter out small virus particles so they will simple go straight through. This is straight from the WHO.
Furthermore, these surgical masks are in short supply and are needed by health workers.
Focus more on hand cleanliness. If you don’t believe me, then read what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have to say about this.
If you are flying or on a long bus trip, wear one just in case, but take note of the tips below and AVOID using fingers to scratch itches.
COVID-19 Coronavirus Tip 2: Carry a 60%+ alcohol small bottle of hand sanitizer on your person
Only use it when there are no bathrooms with soap and water. Overuse of alcohol-based hand sanitizer can lead to skin irritation, eye irritation and other health issues. It will also damage your liver over time.
Tip 3: DO NOT use hand sanitizer on small children (under 6 years).
Because younger kids are more susceptible to adverse effects of these alcohol-based products, they can get very ill. This is because there is not as much glycogen in their liver and the use of hand sanitizers can actually poison them.
However, if you must use it, use non-alcohol based hand sanitizers and use them sparingly. Soap and water is the best solution.
COVID-19 Coronavirus Tip 4: Dirty Money can Transfer the Virus to your hands
When handling cash, be sure to clean your hands afterwards. Immediately. Handling money is next to impossible in normal life but remember that many many people have likely touched it before you.
After handling cash, be certain to wipe your hands again with sanitizer gel.
Tip 5: When using lifts, don’t use your fingers to press the buttons
Get into the habit of using another object like car keys to press the buttons. The COVID-19 and other Coronaviruses can transfer easily to your fingers from public lift buttons.
Think of all the hundreds or perhaps thousands of people that have poked that button today. Its a source of infection that buildings cannot easily keep clean. Remember this!
Tip 6: Carry a small handkerchief or cloth in your pocket or purse
Use it when opening doors or use your shoulder to pry them open. Avoid touching public door handles, straps and railings with your hands.
If you must do (i.e. on the Skytrain), then use the hand sanitizer immediately after departing the station.
Follow Tip 7 as well. The same advice is valid when using public taxis to avoid becoming infected with a COVID-19 coronavirus infected taxi driver.
They are at a higher risk than most of contracting the virus. Also, the surfaces in the taxis may also be contaminated.
Protect youself by cleaning your hands again after departing a taxi. Its also recommended to wear your N-95 mask while in the taxi.
COVID-19 Coronavirus Tip 7: Don’t touch your face with your fingers. Ever!
When you have an itch on your face, get into the habit of using the back of your hand or your shoulder to rub it. Not the fingers. Or, use your sleeve.
Avoid touching mouth, nose and eyes. Yes, the virus can enter your body through the eyes which is one of the reasons that a surgical mask is ineffective. Someone can still cough some virus filled yucky sneeze droplets into your eyes.
Tip 8: Avoid shaking hands with others
It’s a hard habit to break but for now, get into the habit. Perhaps use a polite Wai instead? An elbow touch? Fist bump? A Japanese bow?
COVID-19 Coronavirus Tip 9: DON’T fall victim to the hype
This virus is massively newsworthy at the moment and the press is salivating from all the attention they are getting. If you want to know more about the virus, then read the CDC and WHO notices. Fake news is big business these days. Protect from the coronavirus by following some simple rules and keeping your hands clean and away from your face.
Tip 10: Relax. Don’t panic.
Stress is a killer. Therefore, much like my wife, you may convince yourself that you are sick when you aren’t. If you do show symptoms of a cold, put a mask on, disinfect your hands and visit the nearest hospital for an immediate checkup. The chances are that you just have the common cold.
How long can the COVID-19 Coronavirus persist on inanimate surfaces?
Human coronaviruses have been found to persist on inanimate surfaces — including metal, glass or plastic surfaces. Typically they have been known to live on these surfaces for as long as nine days if that surface had not been disinfected. This is according to research published earlier this month in The Journal of Hospital Infection.
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