The recent coronavirus outbreak has left everyone anxious for their safety. With the amount of misinformation that exists, it has been difficult to determine who to pay attention to and who to avoid.
Our goal in writing this blog is to help you learn the correct facts about Coronavirus and take the necessary steps to prevent infection.
An introduction to the coronavirus
Coronaviruses are a type of virus that affects the respiratory tract of animals and humans. They are part of the Coronavirinae subfamily that belongs to the Coronaviridae family. Some of the most common types of coronaviruses include:
- 229E (coronavirus alpha)
- NL63 (coronavirus alpha)
- OC43 (beta coronavirus)
- HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
Some of the rare strains include MERS-CoV which causes Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), SARS-CoV which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The most recent strain is the SARS-CoV-2 that causes Coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19).
The main mode of transmission of COVID-19 is through respiratory droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. Drops deposited in the eyes, nose, or mouth of a close person lead to transmission of the infection. Transmission can also occur by touching the face with contaminated hands. The respiratory drops do not remain suspended in the air for long; therefore, a distance of six feet from an infected person can be considered safe. Coronaviruses can contaminate metal, glass, or plastic surfaces that can remain infectious for several days. Contact with such contaminated surfaces (fomites) and subsequent transfer to the face by contact can also be an important mode of transmission.
Airborne transmission, other than droplet infection, is characterized by viruses that move through the air. It is unclear whether airborne transmission occurs with COVID-19 infection. The possibility of transmission by air requires the use of additional protective measures, including N95 masks.
In general, the most common ways the coronavirus can spread are:
- Coughing and sneezing without covering your mouth, as this can spread the virus-containing droplets into the air
- Contact a person who already carries the virus
- Contact any object containing the virus and then touch your nose or mouth
How to prevent the transmission of coronavirus infection?
If you are diagnosed with coronavirus, your healthcare provider will decide if you need to be hospitalized or if you can stay home. In the event that you are asked to stay home, the state health department will monitor you.
You must complete the following steps before you can resume normal activities:
- Don’t leave home unless you get medical attention – restrict your activities to your home only and avoid visiting work, school, or any other public area. You should also try to avoid public transportation as much as possible.
- Stay away from other family members, including pets. It is better to stay restricted to a separate room and also use a separate bathroom, if possible. Also, it is important that infected people stay away from animals in general. Until more information about COVID-19 is collected, avoid snuggling, kissing, or sharing food with animals.
- Call before visiting your doctor: If you have a medical appointment, it is best to inform the doctor beforehand so they can take appropriate steps to prevent others from becoming infected.
- Wear a mask: Whenever you are outside in a public place, you should always wear a face mask.
- Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze: You should also cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. It is also a good idea to throw away the scarves after you have used them.
- Wash your hands well: Immediately after coughing or sneezing, and also at other times, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soapy water or use an alcohol-based disinfectant. The disinfectant must contain at least 60-95% alcohol.
- Avoid sharing personal items – It is important that you keep away the personal items you use on a daily basis, such as glasses, plates, and towels, away from your family and pets.
- Clean surfaces and objects prone to high contact: some of the common surfaces or objects, such as door knobs and tables, which can be accessed by everyone, must be cleaned to avoid the transfer of the virus. It is also important to clean any object that is contaminated with body fluids or blood.
- Manage symptoms: In case you feel the symptoms get worse, you should call your healthcare provider and get a checkup.
You should stay home until your risks for secondary transmission are considered low by your healthcare provider. Now looking at it from the other end, below are the steps that healthy people in the family must follow to avoid becoming infected with the coronavirus.
It is important to ensure that the infected person follows all precautions established by the healthcare provider. Try to control the symptoms of the infected person. If symptoms worsen, you should inform your healthcare provider.
- You should also stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom from the infected person. It is important to ensure that pets are also kept away.
- Better to avoid any visitor at this time.
- It is important to ensure that shared spaces in the home have good ventilation and air circulation. You can turn on the air conditioner or keep the windows open.
- It is important to maintain proper hygiene to avoid transmission of the virus. Be sure to wash your hands for about 20 seconds with soap and water. In the absence of soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based disinfectant, where the alcohol content is at least 60-95%.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth, or eyes too much unless you wash your hands.
- If you are in the same room as the infected person, you should carry a mask with you.
- You should always wear a face mask before coming into contact with the stool, blood, or body fluids of the infected person.
- You should not reuse face masks or gloves and get rid of them immediately. When you remove the protective covers, start with the glove first and immediately wash your hands.
- Wash all clothes thoroughly. Discard all clothing that is contaminated with blood, feces, or body fluids. You should always wear gloves while working with dirty items. Wash your hands immediately after handling dirty items.
- In case of doubts, problems, or issues, call the healthcare provider in question and follow their instructions.