Influenza remains the leading cause of severe respiratory illness among most healthy adults. Therefore, influenza vaccination and standard respiratory hygiene remain essential for health. There is currently no vaccine for SARS-CoV, so to control the infection, it is necessary to reduce person-to-person transmission of the virus by doing the following:

  1. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with dirty hands.
  3. Avoid close contact with sick people.
  4. Stay at home if you are sick.
  5. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  6. Clean and disinfect high-touch items and surfaces such as phones, doorknobs, faucets, and light switches.

Wash your hands properly!

A quick rinse with soap and water is not enough. Five simple steps improve handwashing and help fight infection:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the faucet, and apply soap. Do not use a basin of stagnant water. Turning off the faucet in a timely manner helps conserve clean water.
  2. Wash all parts of your hands by rubbing them together with soap . Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and especially under your nails.
  3. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. To do this, it will be enough for you to sing the song “Happy Birthday” from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean running water. If the faucet does not turn off automatically, there is no reason to necessarily use a paper towel to turn off the faucet, and at the same time, turning off the faucet with washed hands reduces paper consumption.
  5. Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them. Germs are more easily tolerated by wet hands, so for further prevention, it is recommended to dry your hands after washing.

Or use alcohol-based hand sanitisers

Soap and water are the preferred methods for hand disinfection because washing removes many pathogens and toxic substances. When you can’t wash your hands with soap and running water, alcohol-based hand sanitisers can help:

  • Choose a product with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand. Use the amount recommended on the product label.
  • Rub the product over the entire surface of your hands . As with soap and water, all surfaces, including those under the nails, need to be disinfected.
  • Continue to rub the product into the surfaces of the hands until they dry . Wiping off the disinfectant before it dries reduces effectiveness.

Avoid close personal contact with infected people

Close contact with an infected person increases the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines close contact as close contact when you are approximately 1.5 meters away from a sick person, or within the same room or treatment area for an extended period of time, or have direct contact. with infectious secretions (e.g. cough) without wearing the recommended personal protective equipment.

Avoid close personal contact with people who do not have symptoms of the infection

People can become infected with SARS-CoV-2 without showing symptoms of Covid-19. Some people infected with the virus spread the infection because they develop the disease with asymptomatic or mild symptoms. Other people will spread the virus for several days before they have their first symptoms. Since we never know who is infected with the virus and who is not, it is medically advised to avoid unnecessary personal contact. It is not known how long it takes for the virus to spread from person to person, but if you pass by a person who is not coughing or sneezing and, moreover, is wearing a mask, it is very unlikely that you will be able to catch the infection.

Practicing respiratory hygiene

  • Use face masks and tissues to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, then throw the used items in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Wash your hands (correctly).
  • Stay at home when sick.
  • Call your GP for advice on treating acute respiratory illness.

Protective equipment for non-medical institutions

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has published a set of guidelines that summarizes the best practices for using personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect workers during the fight against coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This paper highlights the need for non-health industries to use medical PPE as sparingly as possible. These industries, as well as individuals, are calling for the use of general-purpose cloth face masks.

Regular use of cloth face masks: pandemic conditions

Masks are worn to prevent transmission because a person wearing a mask is less likely to spread the virus through coughing, sneezing or other tiny particles. Therefore, people who are sick should wear masks to reduce the chance of transmitting the virus to other people. This recommendation is based on studies showing the effectiveness of face masks in reducing the transmission of influenza and cold viruses. The effectiveness of these masks in the case of SARS-CoV-2 cannot be said with the same certainty, but that they prevent large droplets and reduce the risk of airborne transmission of the virus have been documented.

Because we now know that SARS-CoV-2 can also be spread by people who are asymptomatic and because the virus has now spread throughout the United States, the CDC recommends that all people, including people who carry the infection without symptoms, wear cloth masks. for the face in public places where it is difficult to maintain social distance (for example, grocery stores and pharmacies). According to CDC infection prevention guidelines, healthy people should also wear a mask when they are caring for a sick person. A recent small study has questioned the effectiveness of cloth masks and surgical masks in preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2, but it should be noted that the study of the virus was conducted in a test tube and not in a clinical infection. While the effectiveness of face masks remains questionable,

The World Health Organization gives the following practical advice on the use of masks: “Wearing a medical mask is one of the preventive measures that can limit the spread of certain respiratory viral diseases, including COVID-19. However, the use of a mask alone is not sufficient to provide an adequate level of protection, and additional measures must be taken. Whether you use masks or not, maximizing hand hygiene and other preventive measures are critical to preventing human-to-human transmission of COVID-19.”

After wearing the sheet mask, carefully remove it without touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands immediately afterwards. It is better to wash the mask in the washing machine with ordinary soap or detergent.

How to easily make a fabric mask yourself and without sewing

To make a quality mask, use a tightly woven material such as an old pillowcase, bandana, or heavy t-shirt. CDC offers some easy options for sewing and making a no-sew mask.

As a result, you should get a mask that:

  • tight but comfortable
  • secured with knots or ear loops
  • includes multiple layers of fabric
  • makes it easy to breathe
  • Designed to be machine washable and dryable without damage or change in shape

CDC gives an example of what a homemade sheet mask should look like

Home cleaning and disinfection, home isolation

Cleaning allows you to get rid of dirt and germs from surfaces, without necessarily destroying the pathogens that live on these surfaces; however, cleaning reduces the risk of transmission by reducing the amount of viruses that live on surfaces.

Disinfection allows you to destroy infectious agents through the use of chemicals. Disinfection does not clean the surface, so typically the surface is cleaned first and then disinfected.

In a pandemic, scheduled cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces (door handles, light switches, elevator buttons, handles, tables, railings, telephones, tables, toilets, faucets, sinks) is recommended. Use household cleaners and disinfectants suitable for the surface. Follow the instructions on the label, wear gloves if available, and ensure good ventilation while using the product. Observe all hand hygiene rules, even if gloves were used. Apple has changed its phone cleaning guidelines and suggests using 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes to gently wipe the outside surfaces of the phone.

Cleaning and disinfecting in American homes where there is a person suspected or confirmed to have Covid-19 must follow specific CDC cleaning and disinfection guidelines. Under such conditions, these areas should be cleaned at intervals that will protect other family members, including those who clean, from risks. Follow CDC’s detailed guidance on disinfection for family members, partners, and caregivers of a person with symptomatic, laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in a non-ambulatory setting.

Ending home isolation for a person with confirmed COVID-19 disease. The CDC’s interim guidance for ending isolation is to maintain isolation of recovered individuals for at least 10 days after symptom onset and at least 72 hours after fever has resolved without the use of antipyretics and with gradual improvement or elimination of other symptoms. Longer periods of isolation are recommended for individuals who have low resistance to SARS-CoV-2 spread and infection risk after recovery, as recommended by their healthcare provider.

Termination of home isolation for a person with confirmed, asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. National Institutes of Health guidance recommends that individuals who are asymptomatic but who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (for example, those who have tested positive after established contact with a confirmed Covid-19 patient) and who are not experiencing any symptoms during the period of self-isolation may be released from quarantine 7 days after the date of the first positive test for SARS-CoV-2110. The CDC has also published guidance on getting out of home isolation.

social distancing

Social distancing is a change in the behavior of a society in matters of group interaction in order to reduce the likelihood of close contact with an infected person. Groups of people can minimize the risk of transmission of the virus through social contacts if they find alternatives to group interaction (cancellation of group events, limiting the scope of events, virtual communication, etc.).

The American College of Physicians’ policy on social distancing is as follows: “Decisions to ease, extend, or increase lockdowns or recommendations and requirements for social distancing should be reviewed regularly and based on advice from health experts to effectively slow the spread of COVID-19, treating those already sick, reducing morbidity and mortality, providing the health care system with everything necessary for high-quality treatment of all those in need. Such evidence-based recommendations must be supported, not violated, by federal, state, or local authorities. For now, social distancing is our best defense to help mitigate the spread of the virus. save lives and maintain the capacity of the health system, and it is recommended to adhere to it everywhere and for as long as there is reason to do so. [ACP Newsroom March 26, 2020]

Pandemic Mitigation: Personal Measures

People sometimes wonder why they should practice social distancing and personal hygiene, especially if they think they are not at risk of dying from an acquired infection. People need to be educated that infection control is important to reduce the outbreak (slow the spread), even if containment (stopping the spread) is unlikely. When infection occurs in a population over time, those who become infected are more likely to be able to access medical resources when needed. Without measures such as social distancing, handwashing and respiratory hygiene, the spread of infection will peak and the needs of patients may exceed the capacity of the healthcare system, leading to an increased risk of morbidity and mortality due to lack of access to medical care.

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