As of the 29th March, the coronavirus pandemic has infected over 600,000 people and taken almost 25,000 lives over the world. Right now, humanity is facing the most difficult time of the 21st century. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Australians are now staying indoors, minimising social contact, and prioritising on hygiene.
Many organisations, including the WHO, have released best practices and guidelines that you should be following to minimise your chances of contracting the virus and also to prevent its spread. Remember, you are battling this virus from three fronts: protecting yourself from contracting it, preventing it from entering your house through others, and reducing the risk of infecting others if you have it.
To build a successful defence against coronavirus during self-isolation, you need to practice good hygiene, encourage social distancing, and disinfect your house regularly.
Wash Your Hands Regularly
The WHO has recommended that you frequently wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap for at least 20 seconds to wash off any potential traces of the virus. In case you don’t have access to soap and/or water, then you should use a hand sanitiser with at least 60% ethyl alcohol content for effective results.
Washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds is more effective though than using a hand sanitiser. Even if you have used a hand sanitizer, you should still wash your hands at the first opportunity you get because using a hand sanitiser will only break the cell wall of the virus, but it will likely not kill the virus completely as washing your hands would.
If you are outdoors, to get groceries or for any other essential purpose, then keep a hand sanitiser with you and frequently use it. Avoid touching your face. Another option is using gloves when you go shopping. And again, even with gloves on, don’t touch your face! Wash your hands as soon as you return home and throw away the gloves.
Clean High-Touch Surfaces
COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for days, especially metallic surfaces. It’s important to disinfect all the surfaces in your house on a daily basis, especially those that come in frequent contact with your hands such as benchtops, doorknobs, mobile phones, remotes, laptops, light switches, desks etc. Also, make sure you wipe down anything you bring from the outside, including groceries and medicines.
Use a detergent with an anti-bacterial surface cleaner. Due to high demand, finding an anti-bacterial cleaning product in the supermarket or pharmacy is very hard. The alternative is to scrub the surface you want to clean with soapy water. That should do the job as well.
Sneezing and coughing
Cover your nose and mouth with a bent elbow when sneezing or coughing or use a tissue. Throw the used tissue straight in the bin. As droplets spread the virus, you are limiting the spread by covering your nose and mouth. Avoid touching your face, nose, mouth or eyes. Your hands touch many surfaces and can pick up the virus, which could then enter the body via the face, potentially infecting you. Make sure to wash your hands after each sneeze or cough.
Washing clothes and showers
According to the WHO you don’t need to wash or change your clothes every time you return from the shops. Washing clothes will certainly kill the virus, but so does sunlight and drying out the clothes. Hot showers will not do anything to help prevent you from getting Covid-19. There is no coronavirus-related need to shower every time you come home from outside. Make sure you hand wash regularly and take a daily shower.
You have probably already thought: “What if someone has sneezed on my apples?” or “Could the banana be contaminated?”.
Although there is no evidence that suggests that the virus can be transmitted through food, experts believe that you can get sick if someone contaminates the surface of your food.
That is why the experts share the recommendation to rinse fresh produces under running water – to wash away potential contagious pathogens - before eating it.
Anything else you bring home, clean it with a cloth with an anti-bacterial cleaner or spray.
Visitors at home?
Avoid bringing visitors inside your home. We are talking about a highly contagious disease, and visitors can spread it into your home without realising they are infected. Coronavirus has an incubation period of 4 to14 days - even more in some cases - which means people find out they have contracted it after multiple days of being exposed to the virus while continuing to spread it wherever they go. This is why having visitors is especially dangerous at this time. If you do have to allow visitors into your home, consider to leave their shoes and coats outside and use an anti-bacterial spray frequently. You may consider applying the same practice when you return home from you’re your grocery store.
We are passing through a very difficult time, and it’s important to know the precautions we need to take. This time will eventually pass, and you must not let it overwhelm you or members of your family. Good hygiene, social distancing, and self-isolation are tested methods of preventing this virus from entering your body and your home. If you are doing all of this, then you can relax and try to make this a positive experience for the people in your household. Remember, happiness leads to a better immune system, and good immunity is your ultimate defence against this virus.