Coronavirus, Covid-19, SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus: How do we stay safe?
by Janet Dennison
From the reading and research I have done, it appears that our best lines of defence are:
Wash your hands with old-fashioned soap and water
Wash them well and wash them often. As our hands are wrinkly and full of little nooks and crannies, we need to use soap and running water and wash well for twenty to thirty seconds. (For as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday is a good guide). Less effective are sanitisers and anti-bacterial cleaners, but they are better than nothing. They do not dissolve the virus like soap can. Disinfectants, or liquids, wipes, gels and creams containing alcohol (and soap) have a similar effects but are not really quite as good as normal soap. Apart from the alcohol and soap, the antibacterial agents in these products don’t affect the virus structure much at all. Consequently, many antibacterial products are basically just an expensive version of soap in terms of how they act on viruses. Soap is the best, but alcohol wipes are good when soap is not practical or handy.
Avoid touching your face
If you have virus/es on your hands, this transfers them to your face, which is dangerously close to your airways and the mucous-type membranes around your mouth and eyes, which are the easiest ingress points for viral infections.
Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
When you cough, or especially when you sneeze, tiny droplets from the airways can fly up to 10 meters (30 ft)! The larger ones are thought to be main coronavirus carriers and they can go at least 2 m (7 ft). This is why viruses like colds and flu spread so easily, especially when we are all shut up together or sharing crowded spaces.
Avoid crowded spaces as much as possible
This includes public transport, shopping centres, sporting fixtures, theatres, and cinemas.
Maintain good general health
Eat well, sleep well and get sufficient exercise. This is, as always, our best defence against getting ill.
Self-isolate if you are unwell
Do it as soon as possible: it may not be coronavirus, but it is a good defence to lessen the spread of any viral infections.
Prepare for isolation 1
(…but you do not need six years supply of toilet paper!). Ensure that you have a pantry well-stocked with staples to build meals from, or have a day batch-cooking and freezing meals. Check your vegetable /herb garden – and keep up with succession planting to ensure that there will be continuing supplies of fresh vegetables and herbs coming on. If local systems break down or are disrupted, we may not be able to rely on ordering online for home deliveries.. and our local CSAs may also be affected.
Prepare for isolation 2
If you have self-isolated, do you have something to do to occupy your time? Working from home, gardening, reading, catching up on letter-writing, spring/autumn-cleaning, any hobbies, binge-watching those boxed sets you have been saving, NetFlix, de-cluttering, sorting out that seed box… the list could be endless. Plan to keep yourself occupied to help the time pass faster…and choose activities to suit how you are feeling. Don’t plan to seriously clean the house if you are struggling for breath.
The best defence and the best medicine is a dose of common sense and kindness, and please regularly check on the elderly and infirm amongst your neighbours, friends and family.
Disclaimer. This is MY take from the reading and research I have done. If/when the pandemic spreads and worsens, edicts from the government or health authorities may affect these suggestions.