Viral pandemic prevention tips

Tips to prevent being infected in case of a viral pandemic

Points of infection: Switches, door knobs, and bathroom latches

Locks in bathrooms can be dirty or even contaminated.

Both at home and in public places, bathroom switches, door knobs, and latches are parts that are constantly in contact with the hands of everyone who goes to that site, and probably contain traces of dirt.

The appropriate thing, especially in cases of risk of contagion, is to properly clean and disinfect these surfaces (with disposable paper, disinfecting liquid, and leaving the disinfecting product to act before drying). In public places or at work, especially in crowded places, use a small piece of paper to touch locks and doors, whenever possible.

If you have a cough, cough into your elbow, not your hand

Covering your mouth with your hands increases the risk of infecting third parties, since it is easy for those dirty hands to touch other surfaces, which in turn can touch others. It is safer to cover your mouth with your elbow.

Pay by card and avoid using cash

In the case of unknown infectious diseases, it is preferable to exercise extreme caution and pay with your card or mobile phone.  Not so much  because  or  yourself (maybe you are not infected) but, because of the recipient: it is possible that the person who attends the public has been in contact with many other people that day. All the same for coins and bills .

Do not touch your face, mouth, teeth, or scratch your eyes

switch
Avoid using your finger to press switches in public places (lights, elevators, doors of public transport, etc.)

It is almost inevitable that at some point we touch our faces, surely unintentionally. Therefore, if we follow all the aforementioned measures, we will greatly reduce the risk of infection.

It is important to know that there are mucosa in some body areas, and the risk of contagion if we touch them with contaminated hands is high: eyes, nose, mouth, genitalia, irritated skin, open wounds or ulcers. It is easy for viruses or bacteria to enter our body through them, and therefore infection can occur.

Avoid using fingers and hands in public places, if possible

  • Open doors with your foot (and carefully), if possible, or from the part that seems least likely that more people have touched them.
  • Avoid using the handrails on the stairs, if possible.
  • Wear gloves if you go to public places, for example in the greengrocer.
  • Take a shower  every day. Especially,  if there are people in the same home with compromised health or risk of complications, it is advisable to shower with soap every day when you get home, in order to eliminate any possible trace of dirt, microorganisms or viruses that may be in the hair, arms, legs etc.

Cut your nails

A lot of dirt can be hidden under long nails. If you are not very careful with hygiene, it is better to cut your nails and keep them short.

Put the street clothes to wash

Normally, clothes don’t get dirty enough to wash every day. However, in case of risk of infection, or sharing a house with vulnerable people, it is advisable to put street clothes to wash every day, and leave the jacket at the entrance. In particular, long-sleeved shirts and sweaters.

Keep your mobile in your bag or pocket for as long as possible and clean it frequently

Use your mobile as few as possible when being outdoors. Clean it frequently and avoid putting it on surfaces that may be contaminated, or that are not properly disinfected, such as public toilets, bars, etc.

Extreme measures in the event of an epidemic

Door knob
Door knobs can be contaminated by pathogenic microbes.

In case of uncontrolled infection, or new cases of disease do not stop appearing, additional measures are recommended, such as:

  • Avoid using mobile dating apps or social gatherings with unknown people. Not everyone is equally aware, and infected people can infect you. Be wary of strangers about whom you know nothing about their hygiene or environment.
  • Try to keep a safe distance of at least 1 meter from other people.
  • Try to work at home, if possible.
  • Avoid crowded places: public transport, department stores, gyms, public toilets, elevators, theaters, cinemas, etc. If possible, make the purchase online.
  • Leave your shoes at the entrance of your house, after coming back home
  • Wash your hands when you get home.
  • Avoid social gatherings.
  • If quarantine is decreed, do not leave home.

What to do if you have symptoms of illness?

  1. Faced with symptoms of illness, you must call medical emergencies and follow their instructions. Not everyone who falls ill with coronavirus has to go to the hospital. You can call, and a specialized team will come through the home to do the test. Also, testing is not treated as a medical emergency. For most cases, it is a flu that must be passed at home.
  2. Stay isolated at home and call all the people you’ve been in contact with for the past 15 days to do the same. At least, until coronavirus infection is ruled out.
  3. Medical attention is reserved for those cases that really need it. It is dangerous to go to the hospital without warning, as it helps to spread the virus. In addition, there is the danger of infecting unprotected health personnel, with the risk of saturating the hospital system (there will be no healthy doctors to cure the sick).
  4. If you have to leave the house for an emergency, exercise extreme personal hygiene and use a mask and gloves to avoid infecting others.

Keep a positive attitude!!!

Hygiene measures are an advance of our time, and practicing them is an exercise in responsibility with ourselves, towards the people who live with us and towards society.

In addition to these essential physical protection measures, it is also important to maintain a positive attitude towards life, which will help us adapt to any situation and improve coexistence and daily life, something that is also essential for people’s health.

* Go on reading: Cleaning and disinfection for coronavirus and other viruses

Elisenda Carballido
Written by Elisenda Carballido Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.

23 March, 2020

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