How to protect yourself from being infected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Firstly, avoid the media hype.
Most of you reading this article are seriously concerned about contracting the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) from China.
Many of you are scared. I know that my wife is taking her temperature 3 times a day and is convinced she is sick. She’s not. She’s just bought into the hype.
This article won’t bore you with all the statistics on why you are more likely to get hit by a meteorite than contract COVID-19 coronavirus, so I will just give you some tips to protect yourself while out in public or at work.
Why take my advice?
I worked for several years in offshore environments as an HSE Advisor.
At times, we had over 600 people on close-quarter accommodations barges for long periods of time.
Outbreaks of the common cold were (ahem) common. Believe me, we learned from those outbreaks how to protect ourselves and stay healthy.
Tip 1: Don’t bother with the surgical masks
They are only effective to protect others from your illnesses like the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Furthermore, in this heat, you will be tempted to rub your face more with the mask on, and open up the possibility that germs from your hands get into your body.
A virus is 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Surgical masks simply cannot filter a particle that small.
The only kind of RPE (respiratory protection equipment) that will filter out a particle that small is an N-95 type mask.
If the mask isn’t fitted to your face properly, air will simply pass around the edges and through the gaps. The path of least resistance. This is what we call “face fit testing” in the safety industry.
A surgical mask, also known as a procedure mask, medical mask or simply as a face mask, is intended to be worn by health professionals during surgery and during nursing.
It is designed to catch the bacteria shed in liquid droplets … Surgical masks are not designed to protect the wearer from inhaling airborne bacteria or virus particles
Focus more on hand cleanliness. If you don’t believe me, then read what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have to say about this.
If you are flying or on a long bus trip, wear one just in case, but take note of the tips below and AVOID using fingers to scratch itches.
COVID-19 Coronavirus Tip 2: Carry a 70%+ alcohol small bottle of hand sanitizer on your person
Only use it when there are no bathrooms with soap and water.
Overuse of alcohol-based hand sanitizer can lead to skin irritation, eye irritation and other health issues. It will also damage your liver over time.
Tip 3: DO NOT use hand sanitizer on small children (under 6 years).
Because younger kids are more susceptible to adverse effects of these alcohol-based products, they can get very ill. This is because there is not as much glycogen in their liver and the use of hand sanitizers can actually poison them.
However, if you must use it, use non-alcohol based hand sanitizers and use them sparingly. Soap and water is the best solution.
COVID-19 Coronavirus Tip 4: Dirty Money can Transfer the Virus to your hands
When handling cash, be sure to clean your hands afterwards. Immediately.
Tip 5: When using lifts, don’t use your fingers to press the buttons
Get into the habit of using another object like car keys to press the buttons. The COVID-19 and other Coronaviruses can transfer easily to your fingers from public lift buttons.
Tip 6: Carry a small handkerchief or cloth in your pocket or purse
Use it when opening doors or use your shoulder to pry them open. Avoid touching public door handles, straps and railings with your hands.
If you must do (i.e. on the Skytrain), then use the hand sanitizer immediately after departing the station. Follow Tip 7 as well. The same advice is valid when using public taxis to avoid becoming infected with a COVID-19 coronavirus infected taxi driver. They are at a higher risk than most of contracting the virus. Also, surfaces in the taxis may also be contaminated.
COVID-19 Coronavirus Tip 7: Don’t touch your face with your fingers
When you have an itch on your face, get into the habit of using the back of your hand to rub it. Not the fingers. Or, use your sleeve.
Avoid touching mouth, nose and eyes. Yes, the virus can enter your body through the eyes which is one of the reasons that a surgical mask is ineffective. Someone can still sneeze virus filled yucky sneeze droplets into your eyes.
Tip 8: Avoid shaking hands with others
It’s a hard habit to break but for now, get into the habit. Perhaps us a polite Wai instead?
COVID-19 Coronavirus Tip 9: DON’T fall victim to the hype
This virus is massively newsworthy at the moment and the press is salivating from all the attention they are getting. If you want to know more about the virus, then read the CDC notices. Fake news is big business these days.
Tip 10: Relax. Don’t panic.
Stress is a killer. Therefore, much like my wife, you may convince yourself that you are sick when you aren’t. If you do show symptoms of a cold, put a mask on, disinfect your hands and visit the nearest hospital for an immediate checkup. The chances are that you just have a common cold.
How long can the COVID-19 Coronavirus persist on inanimate surfaces?
Human coronaviruses have been found to persist on inanimate surfaces — including metal, glass or plastic surfaces. Typically they have been known to live on these surfaces for as long as nine days if that surface had not been disinfected. This is according to research published earlier this month in The Journal of Hospital Infection.
I am an accomplished and qualified health and safety professional with many years of occupational HSE field experience in the oil & gas, construction and manufacturing industries.
For a living, I provide practical advice and guidance to my employers and clients on all matters of occupational illnesses & safety as well as conducting full risk assessments and other health and safety management tasks.
Understanding RPE is part of my job. I need to know what kind to issue for the hazard present. I work in hazardous environments with dusts and dangerous vapours and gasses present most of the time.
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