Coronavirus outbreak: Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus

Mar 13, 2020 | Coronavirus | 0 comments

As it is with every virus that has ever roamed our world, there are many things you can do to protect yourself from coronavirus infection.

The most important ones are gathered below.

The most important thing you can do is to stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO and CDC websites and through your national and local public health authority. Coronavirus COVID-19 is still affecting many people in China with some outbreaks in other countries (like Italy) also. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be much more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following.


Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the coronavirus COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease. Since you cannot be sure, stay away.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with your hands

Why? 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.

Be aware that the coronavirus can stay alive for up to 48 hours on certain surfaces, so it’s genereally a good practice not to touch just about everything.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure that you and the people around you follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and also coronavirus COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and always call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

During the coronavirus outbreak, local medical system will likely be overwhelmed with sick people. This means if you visit your local doctor the moment you feel bad, you will most likely end up waiting in a crowded waiting area, surrounded by people who are or at least who suspect they might be ill. This increases your chance of getting infected with coronavirus, even if you weren’t before, as well as the pressure upon the medical staff. Which, of course, worsens the situation more then it helps. So, first call your doctor and follow theid advice – you will most likely be told to stay isolated until the symptoms are severe.

Wear a facemask if you are sick

  • If you are sick:  You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
  • If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Stay informed on the latest developments about the coronavirus COVID-19 status. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus COVID-19 infection.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether coronavirus COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best authorised to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

To disinfect

Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.

Options include:

  • Diluting your household bleach.
    To make a bleach solution, mix:
    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
    • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

    Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

  • Alcohol solutions.
    Ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol.
  • Other common EPA-registered household disinfectants.
    Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens pdf icon[7 pages]external icon claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

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