COVID-19 is primarily spread by respiratory droplets transmitted via close contact (within 6 feet) with an infected person. Respiratory droplets are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
There are some simple ways to protect yourself from coronavirus. The best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from getting infected is to wash your hands. Really as simple as that sounds, that is the most effective way to prevent illness and infection.
Wash with soap and water. Gloves are not a safe substitute for washing your hands.
The video below shows you how to do a thorough wash. It is not enough to just run your hands under a tap. Clean as thoroughly as you can. This video recommends at least a minute of systematic washing, which is the same as singing three happy birthdays to yourself.
The second thing is if you do have symptoms, to practice what we call ‘respiratory etiquette’ That means coughing or sneezing into your elbow, or into a tissue, followed by washing your hands well afterwards.
Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes. Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
The third thing is to practise social distancing. This is the most difficult, but will dramatically reduce the spread of the disease. It is vitally important that we slow the disease down. Stay at home if you can. Reduce the number of visits to shops and other public spaces.
Social isolation can be distressing and lead to anxiety and depression. If you do meet up with family and friends, keep the group numbers low, ideally around five people. Even if they are close friends or family, do not hug, shake hands or kiss. Keep a reasonable distance between yourself and others. This is for everyone’s benefit.
This will reduce the pressure on our health services and ensure we all can access the best possible health services.
Finally , if you are sick, stay at home. We are entering the flu season, so you might just have a cold or the flu. Do not panic. If your symptoms persist, visit your local doctor or clinic.
It is important to note that the World Health Organization (WHO) have classified mild symptoms of COVID-19 to mean that a person will not require hospitalization. The WHO classify mild cases to consist of symptoms including:
The chart below compares symptoms for Covid-19, flu and the common cold.
If you start to experience shortness of breath or respiratory issues consult a health professional immediately.
If you do not have any respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, or runny nose, you do not need to wear a medical mask. When used alone, masks can give you a false feeling of protection and can even be a source of infection when not used correctly.
Do not believe everything you see or hear on social media. Use credible sources for your information and check at organisations like WHO. Bookmark this link https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Most importantly, we are ALL in this together. We need to be kind, compassionate and patient during this time.