News headlines over the past few weeks have been occupied with the nasty coronavirus, causing COVID-19. Innumerable countries across the globe have been affected by this virus and it is not being possible to contain the spread of this ailment in any manner. More than 100,000 positive cases of coronavirus infections have been reported globally over the past few weeks spreading over 95 countries and the numbers are expected to increase. Since there are no medications or vaccines available for combating this ailment, precautionary and preventive measures can be the only help. Various kinds of awareness programs are being conducted and held to make people conscious about coronavirus and how to protect oneself from it. In this article, we will discuss in detail some of the steps we can follow for protecting ourselves from the virus attack.
Understanding the symptoms of coronavirus infection
The symptoms of coronavirus infection are almost similar to common cold and flu. Some of the most prominent symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fever, sore throat along with shortness of breath. These symptoms might appear between 2 days and 2 weeks after exposure from the virus. Research is still being done on the ways in which coronavirus spreads from one person to another. According to health experts, the majority of the viruses are spread through respiratory droplets coming from the nose or mouth of an infected person. The main source of transmission is through sneezing and coughing, but surface contact is also a means by which this virus spreads rapidly. This means that if a person sneezes or coughs and the droplets fall on a surface and if someone touches the same surface, the virus might be transmitted.
As per reports which have been published, it has been confirmed that the majority of coronavirus infection cases are mild. The symptoms are the same as that of common cold and flu. Some people have not shown symptoms until 2 weeks after they have been infected. As a result, they might have transmitted the virus without even knowing that they were infected. This is one of the major challenges that coronavirus is giving and it is becoming difficult to contain the same.
Steps for protecting oneself against coronavirus infections
- Washing hands – The best way of protecting oneself from coronavirus infection probably is to wash hands regularly. What is important is that the process of handwashing should be done correctly. First, wet your hands with cold or hot water. Now take soap and lather it up well covering your entire hand. Don’t forget to clean your nails with soap as well. Now scrub your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds and then rinse with clean, cold water. If you are using a towel for wiping your hands dry, make sure that the towel is completely clean. Otherwise, you can air-dry your hands naturally.
There are specific times when you must definitely wash your hands. Don’t forget to wash your hands before eating anything. Also if you sneeze, cough or blow your nose, you must wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Also, after getting home from outside, you must wash your hands, face, and legs with water for combating the chances of infections from coronavirus.
However, there might be times when it might not be possible for you to wash your hands using soap and water. For such situations, it is recommended to carry a hand sanitizer. However, the sanitizer should contain 60% alcohol to be effective against the virus. Experts emphasize the fact that washing hands thoroughly at regular intervals is the best way to protect oneself from coronavirus infection.
- Refrain from touching your face – Along with washing your hands at regular intervals, it is also recommended to avoid touching your face. Keep your hands off your nose, eyes, and mouths as these are the main entry points of coronavirus for getting into your body. This is applicable to other germs and microorganisms as well. Suppose an infected person sneezes or coughs and the droplets fall on a nearby surface, which you accidentally touch with your hands. When you touch your face, nose or mouth with the same hand, there are high chances that you might get infected from coronavirus.
- Do not invest in a mask until you really and actually need one – After the outbreak of COVID-19 globally, people have become crazy about masks as they think this will provide protection against the virus and keep them safe. There is no doubt that masks like OxyBreath Pro Mask provide protection to some extent, but they cannot stop the virus completely. To be frank, CDC recommends masks for people who have already been infected with the virus or people who are in close contact with people who are infected with the virus. Health-care workers and hospital staff need these masks for sure. Unnecessary and widespread use of masks will cause a shortage of supplies and people who actually need them will not get them. Therefore do not purchase a mask or sanitizer until and unless you really need it.
- Social distancing can help – In case there is a coronavirus outbreak in your area or locality, it is recommended to practice social distancing. This helps in mitigating the spread of the virus further. With these measures, one keeps a safe distance from other people so that the chances of transmitting the virus are less. It is recommended to stand a minimum of 6 feet away from one another or even best to avoid crowded places. In many countries, gatherings of people have been banned completely so that the virus can be controlled from spreading.
- Stock up on household supplies and prescriptions as much as possible – Experts are coming up with recommendations of stocking up household supplies and prescription or over-the-counter drugs for about a month in case one has to self-quarantine. You can also purchase extra cleaning supplies, shelf-stable food, and other important household items to be on the safe side.
Protection against coronavirus in special conditions
- If you are elderly, suffer from chronic illness or have a compromised immune system – The majority of infected people from COVID-19 will experience some or the other kind of mild symptoms. However, elderly people, people with compromised immune systems and patients suffering from various chronic illnesses like diabetes or hypertension are at higher risks to get infected. The severity of the symptoms is more in such patients. For such people, it is recommended to practice the above mentioned precautionary measures and to stay away from people who show flu-like symptoms (1).
- If you are sick – Being cautious is the key in COVID-19 cases. If you experience any flu-like or cold-like symptoms, it is recommended that you stay at home. However, it might not always be possible in doing so. In such a condition wear a mask when you are stepping out from the house with flulike symptoms. If possible, arrange for work from home option even if you are not sick. This is to avoid any chances of infection. When we leave our home and step into the outside world, we are at a higher risk of transmission and exposure to various kinds of germs and microbes in an unknowing manner. If by chance you think that you have been infected by a coronavirus, it is recommended to visit your physician at once. You can also get in touch with the local health department of your area and report your case. Necessary steps will be taken.
- In the case of pregnancy – In the current scenario, there are no special precautions for pregnant women as there is no information available based on research. However, it is a well-known fact that the immune system of pregnant women is in flux making them more susceptible to infections and other ailments. As a result, a pregnant woman might be at higher risks of complications from coronavirus infections when compared to a general woman.
- If you are traveling or have travel plans – You might need to travel for work. But it is always better to be safe than sorry. Therefore it is recommended that one should stay updated on travel warnings that have been issued for specific countries. Countries that have sustained COVID-19 presence should be avoided including that of China, Italy, South Korea, Iran and some parts of Japan as well.
Following the precautions and safety measures will definitely help in combating infections from coronavirus successfully. People should not panic and stop spreading rumors about coronavirus to keep the situation under control.