Prevention Of COVID With Respiratory Hygiene
COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the world making everyday life difficult. Citizens of many countries are asked to stay home in an attempt to contain the spread of the Coronavirus. There is panic in public as they are not fully educated about how this virus works. All that everybody is concentrating on is the number of people infected, the death tolls and whether the vaccine or the treatment is out yet. As a doctor, I want people to know that the spread of this virus was very quick which did not give the experts a lot of time to research and work on a cure. However, efforts are still being made. There are experts working day and night to find a solution. Finding the cure to a new disease and preparing the vaccines and medicines require time, as we must be sure that it is safe and effective, and it won’t be too long before we find a solution.
Worrying and stressing yourself over all these things won’t help. Be focused on protecting yourself instead. We’ll talk about the precautions you must take to avoid the chances of being infected, but before that let’s understand how this Coronavirus spreads.
COVID-19 is an airborne disease, which means that the virus that causes this disease (Coronavirus) transmits through the air. The droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes contain this virus. Now, when these droplets fall on you, you get infected directly. The indirect way of you being infected is when these droplets fall on any metal or plastic surface and then you happen to touch that surface. It could be a door-knob, table, public transport handles, any public place, etc. The virus stays active on a plastic or metal surface for a long period. If you wash or sanitize your hands quickly, the chances of you being infected are reduced, but if you touch your face, nose, or mouth with that infected hand, you can get in trouble, as this is how the virus gets inside your body.
To prevent the spread of this virus, practising respiratory hygiene is extremely important. This is what you must do:
- Masks: Everybody must wear a mask. It doesn’t need to be a surgical mask, a normal double-layered cloth mask is good enough. It prevents the spread of the virus and also prevents you from touching your face.
- Washing Hands: Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is another important step. Wash your hands once every hour with the exact 7 steps of handwash proposed. Make sure you wash them thoroughly, especially before eating and after touching doorknobs or any metal or plastic surface.
- Avoid Touching Face: Humans tend to touch their faces 23 times an hour. There is a high chance that you might touch your face after touching an infected surface. Therefore, you must be very conscious of not touching the face.
- Sanitize: When you are travelling, you may not have soap and water available around you, so it’s better to carry a hand sanitizer and keep sanitizing your hands frequently. Use a sanitizer with 65% - 70% amount of alcohol in it.
- Washing Mask: Like we do not repeat our clothes every day without washing them, it is important to wash the masks as well. Every individual must have 3 cloth masks. Wash the mask as soon as you get back home and let it dry under the sun. Using a clean, fresh mask every time you step out reduces the chances of you being infected even more.
- Cover Your Mouth While Coughing: Cover your mouth with a tissue or handkerchief while sneezing or coughing, or cover it with your elbow.
- Train Kids: Train your child to practice these precautions. Make them wear a mask too if they are leaving the house. Let them continue wearing their masks even after the schools reopen, at least until a cure is developed.
- Seek Medical Assistance: If you see any symptoms in you like, cough, high fever, breathlessness, etc. inform the healthcare authorities instantly and isolate yourself until you hear from them again.
Dr Tapaswini Krishna
Consultant – Pulmonology, Gleneagles Global Hospital, Lakdikapul
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of the organisation.