The outbreak of an epidemic of the coronavirus in Spain is a timely reminder of the importance of hand washing and face protection. Unfortunately, much of the media attention has focused on the cultural debate over wearing protective masks while washing your hands, yet another preventive measure that science says can be just as important as a mask–the proper use of hand washes and face shields.
The virus that causes this particular illness spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids, including blood and saliva. Once a person is infected, he or she cannot be contagious while that person has the virus, but there is no guarantee that you won’t become infected again and so the need for complete protection can be paramount. This is especially true if you’re going to be working in settings where people are in close contact with other people who are infected.
To get the most effective protection against the virus, it’s important to avoid spreading the disease. This means avoiding being directly exposed to others who have it–in the form of droplets from a coughing or sneeze, and also avoiding sharing personal items with others who have it, such as towels or bed linen. When you are in these settings, make sure that your personal items are covered up, and that you use a hand wash, which will help to kill any viruses in your hands alone.
There are several other things that you can do to reduce the risk of spreading this disease. For instance, avoid eating or touching food that was cooked using utensils contaminated with the virus. Also, ensure that you wear gloves and other personal protective clothing whenever possible when doing household chores.
When you work with other health care workers or children in public settings, you should always be aware of how your actions are affecting the other person. Ask for permission before touching their hands, and don’t leave their face unprotected for more than two minutes. Also, don’t share personal items with children who might be at higher risk for the illness; in these cases, you should always wear a face shield or hand wash when handling children.
If you are caring for an infected individual or child, make sure you can provide full protection for them. Use hand wash and face shields whenever possible, and ensure that you disinfect your workplace by using a high concentration of chlorine bleach. When you are using a handwash for disinfecting, do so using a good quality product, such as Lysol, which will kill the virus.
In addition to the above, check the health care centers you frequent regularly for symptoms and signs of the virus. If they are showing signs of this virus–such as fever or headaches–you should be checked immediately to see if the patient would benefit from a medical intervention. If your loved one does show these symptoms, get the proper tests immediately to rule out other conditions. If these tests come back negative, then make sure you get the person to a hospital immediately.
In the meantime, it’s worth spending time thinking about the other steps you can take to prevent spreading of the disease, even on a small scale. Remember to keep your hands covered whenever possible to reduce the risk of infecting others and to eliminate the virus itself. In addition, remember that the virus can easily replicate on hands and fingers and that an unprotected face or mouth can lead to a serious condition, pneumonia.
If you believe a person is infected, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention right away. However, if it is determined that the patient has no life-threatening symptoms, don’t worry too much. Your family physician can perform a physical examination to determine the extent of the disease and recommend the proper treatment.
Most health care providers recommend that you wait to see if you develop any symptoms for four to six weeks. This gives the body ample time to develop immunity to the virus before the illness spreads. If you do develop symptoms, then the best course of action is to consult with a health care provider. for a prescription for an antiviral medication.
It’s worth mentioning that prevention is far better than cure. The virus is only spread through direct contact, so you need to make sure that if you have close contact with an infected patient, you wash your hands frequently and clean and disinfect surfaces that have been shared with the patient.