Written by: Rita Magallona
The rapid spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has brought the world into a state of “public health emergency of international concern,” according to the World Health Organization. COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus (also known as novel coronavirus 2019), which is part of the coronavirus family of viruses that produce symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulty.
Sound familiar? That’s because these symptoms are almost identical to that of the common cold or flu. And just like the common cold, COVID-19 can be transmitted from person to person via droplets from coughing or sneezing.
Similarly, the virus can be carried by those same droplets or by contaminated hands onto objects or surfaces. Because this is a new strain, researchers do not know yet how long the virus can survive on a surface without organic contact.
But there’s no need to panic. The common-sense rules of good hygiene can go a long way in keeping you and your loved ones healthy.
How can you protect your home from COVID-19?
1. Wash your hands thoroughly and often
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agree that the primary way to avoid getting infected with COVID-19 and other similar viruses is to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
How long is 20 seconds? Sing one of these tunes the next time you wash your hands.
2. Avoid touching your face
You touch objects hundreds of times throughout the day, often without realizing it. That’s why your hands are easily contaminated with germs and viruses, which in turn get into your body when you touch your face.
To avoid getting sick, avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose whenever possible. And when you have to, wash your hands first.
3. Make hand cleaning materials available
Make sure that soap is always available at all your sinks at home. Also, have dispensers of hand sanitizers or rubbing alcohol – preferably a solution with 70% alcohol. It’s also better to use disposable paper towels to dry your hands.
There’s really no need to hoard tissues, face masks, and other supplies. This would make it more difficult for medical professionals to care for the sick.
4. Clean and disinfect your home daily
Pay special attention to countertops, sinks, fixtures, and appliance knobs (make sure the appliances are unplugged first). For best results, remove dirt and grime first with soap and water before applying a disinfectant. Also, make sure you wipe up spills as they happen to prevent germs from breeding on wet surfaces.
Sweep floors and mop with water mixed with the recommended amount of bleach or other cleaning agents. If you can do it twice a day, all the better. Don’t forget to clean electric fans, air conditioner units, and other appliances that help circulate the air in your home.
5. Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched frequently
Clean and disinfect door knobs, light switches, faucets, handles, and other things that you touch often. Pay special attention to your phones and computers, but do follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean them.
6. Stay at home and practice social distancing
In areas where there are already infected patients, healthy people are encouraged to cancel events and stay at home to stop community transmission. If you attend public gatherings in these circumstances, you run the risk of catching the virus and bringing it back to your house.
Health officials also recommend social distancing. This means keeping a space of 1m away from you and anyone sneezing or coughing. And if you are sick or suspect you have been infected, make sure you avoid contact with the elderly and other people who are more vulnerable.
It’s now more important than ever to keep a clean home and boost your immune system. With these simple measures, it’s possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19.