Since the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) was first reported in Wuhan last December 2019, cases have jumped to over 88,000, with over 8,000 individuals in critical and serious condition. The death toll numbers at over 3,000. The virus has reached all continents except Antarctica, and China’s neighbors have altered border policies and issued travel bans to help contain the disease.
The Philippines, though relatively near the epicenter of the outbreak, currently has three cases— relatively low compared to over 4,000 in South Korea, over 200 in Japan, and more than 100 in Singapore.
Three is an optimistic figure, so much so that the World Health Organization (WHO) cited the Philippines as one of the few countries that show the spread of infections can be contained. And people do their part in keeping the disease at bay. There has been a shortage of facemasks and disinfectants in local drugstores, prompting the government to tap manufacturers to increase supplies. Commercial establishments—from retail stores to fast food chains—have installed pumps of disinfectants on counters and shelves for their costumers’ use.
But facemasks and disinfectants aren’t the end all be all of Covid-19 protection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that people who don’t experience Covid-19 symptoms don’t have to wear facemasks.
Here are five recommendations from healthcare experts.
1. Wash Your Hands
One of the most effective ways of keeping Covid-19 — and many other infections — at bay is washing your hands with soap and water. If these aren’t available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer that’s at least 60 percent alcohol (most alcohol solutions in the Philippines come at 70 percent).
This kills the viruses on your hands, so they won’t enter your body via your mouth, nose, or eyes. Sanitized hands also prevent you from transmitting any virus to other people or leaving nasty microorganisms on public surfaces.
To wash your hands properly:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water
- Lather the soap on your hands
- Pay attention to the back of your hands, the spaces between your fingers, and the nooks under the nails
- Scrub for at least 20 seconds (or two runs of the“Happy Birthday” song)
- Rinse your hands in running water
- Dry your hands using a clean piece of tissue or towel
2. Maintain a Social Distance
This doesn’t mean you stay in a bubble whenever you’re out in public; you only have to maintain a distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
This prevents viruses from coming in contact with you. When a person coughs or sneezes, tiny droplets leave their noses and mouths, which may contain the virus. If you happen to be too close, you may breathe in the droplets and get an infection.
3. Avoid Touching Your Face
Your face — specifically, your nose, mouth, and eyes — are entryways for viruses. If you touch these parts, and your hands happen to be contaminated with the virus, you may get the infection.
When you need to touch your face (to say, apply makeup), wash your hands or use alcohol first.
4. Practice Coughing and Sneezing Etiquette
Follow and encourage the people around you to practice coughing and sneezing etiquette.
When a person sneezes or coughs, he or she should cover the mouth and nose with the bent elbow or a piece of tissue, which should be disposed of immediately. People shouldn’t use their hands to cover the mouth and nose — this will transmit the virus onto their palms and fingers and leave them on every surface they touch before they could wash their hands.
Even if you sneezed and coughed onto your elbow sleeve or tissue, wash your hands or clean them with alcohol.
5. Maintain a Clean Workstation
Yes, spray your entire desk and computer with alcohol. But your workstation isn’t the only contaminated space in the office
There’s a lot of foot traffic in your office, which is why you should keep your workstation squeaky clean, especially if you share desks and pens.
Use disposable wipes to clean frequently touched surfaces, like the keyboard and mouse, before use. Give your desk a quick wipe before starting the day and another before clocking out.
Predictions on the outbreak peak — the day when the number of new infections reach the highest point and dwindle from then on — vary from expert to expert. Some say that the epidemic is nearing its peak; others project that the virus will infect millions before cases start to decline.
It pays to be ever diligent about healthcare. Your health doesn’t exist in a bubble; you can affect and be affected by the conditions of the people around you. So practice proper hygiene, at all times — even after the outbreak dies down.