Our lives have been altered in one way or another since the outbreak of the current COVID-19 pandemic. While we learn to adjust to this new reality that we all face, we must understand the measures to keep ourselves and others safe are paramount.
As you may know, COVID-19 can affect anyone but people with underlying medical conditions (diabetes, hypertension, sickle cell etc.) and the elderly are more likely to have more serious outcomes, even death. As such, everyone must ensure that the following measures are taken:
1. Do not touch your face mask: This seemingly easy advice is not as easy as we may think. You only need to observe yourself and the people around you to see how difficult it is. The face mask is supposed to serve as a barrier trapping any droplet from the outside and from your airways. Therefore, touching it potentially gets your hands contaminated.
2. Wash/sanitize your hands appropriately: As with face masks, washing/sanitizing of hands is not done properly by most people. The desired result is a function of how well it is done. You need to keep in mind that every aspect of your hands should be washed/sanitized for them to be COVID-19-free. A simple way is to focus on the palms, back of the hands and individual fingers over a minimum of 20 seconds. Do this regularly especially after touching public surfaces or accidentally touching your face mask.
3. Sanitize your gadgets: A little bit of hand sanitizer can and should be used to clean your gadgets (phones, car keys, tabs, earphones etc.) regularly. COVID-19 has been shown to survive on surfaces for hours and as such, your gadgets can serve as sources for contamination and spread.
4. Wash your reusable face masks daily: Most people tend to use reusable masks because of their affordability compared to surgical masks, which are mostly used by healthcare professionals. While these reusable masks are not as effective, they provide a little degree of protection and should be washed with soap and water after each use (daily at least).
5. Do not use gloves: Gloves are to be used only by healthcare workers during physical contact with patients, after which they are immediately disposed. Wearing gloves by the general public can cause more harm than good (if any) because most people tend to wear them for long and dispose them wrongly.
6. Maintain social distance: This must sound impractical when you consider how densely populated we are but you need to understand that maintaining social distance is most important when communicating face-to-face with anyone. As talking, coughing or sneezing can produce droplets, a distance of about 6 feet helps limit the spread as droplets don’t travel that far.
7. Change your clothes and get a shower on returning home: Because our clothes and body surfaces can retain the viruses for a few hours, taking a shower with a change of clothes can go a long way in reducing the risk for infection.
8. Take extra care if you feel sick: As the symptoms of COVID-19 is non-specific and quite varied, you need to take extra care so as not to get others infected. Your symptoms might only be mild but you could infect someone who might present with more severe symptoms possibly leading to death. Contact your doctor for guidance when sick and go out only if absolutely necessary.
9. Stay healthy: Ensure that you nourish your bodies with healthy meals, adequate water intake and rest. Fruits and vegetables should be regularly incorporated into your diet while overindulgence in unhealthy lifestyles should be eliminated. This include excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, starvation, stress etc.
10. Regular health checks: This is particularly important for people with underlying medical conditions like hypertension, diabetes, asthma, cancer, sickle cell, heart failure, chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) etc. These conditions puts you at risk for more severe symptoms if infected with COVID-19. However, with proper control of these conditions, you have an improved chance of recovery.