Having recently completed a Certificate in Infection Control Training for COVID-19, I wanted to share the top 3 tips to prevent yourself & others against the virus COVID-19.
Firstly, let's provide some background. What is COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can make humans sick. The new coronavirus disease, officially known as COVID-19, originated in China in 2019 and has since spread around the world.
Most people, around 80% who become infected with COVID-19 will only experience mild symptoms and will fully recover without any special treatment.
Some people, 15% of people who become infected with COVID-19, will experience moderate symptoms.
A small number of people who become infected with COVID-19, approximately 5% will experience severe symptoms and get very sick.
It is important to know how to protect yourself, your family and your community.
Signs & Symptoms
The most common signs and symptoms of COVID-19 are:
flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, and fatigue
shortness of breath
Not everyone who has symptoms like these has COVID-19, there are several other illnesses that can cause symptoms like these.
How does COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19 spreads from person to person via droplet transmission. Droplets are small pieces of saliva, which are produced when a person coughs or sneezes. Droplets usually travel no further than 1 metre through the air.
You can become infected if:
you have close contact with an infected person who coughs or sneezes
you tough an object (e.g. door handle) contaminated from a cough or sneeze of an infected person and touch your eyes, nose or mouth
Droplets cannot go through skin and can only lead to infection if they touch your mouth, nose or eyes.
What are the top 3 tips to prevent yourself & others against COVID-19?
Use good respiratory hygiene
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to wash your hands regularly with soap and water or rubbing an alcohol-based sanitiser onto your hands.
This is important because washing your hands kills viruses that may be on your hands.
Watch these videos to see how to wash your hands or use hand santiser.
Hand wash: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PmVJQUCm4E
Avoid touching your face as much as possible.
#2 Social Distancing
Maintain at least 1.5 metres between yourself and anyone who is coughing and sneezing.
This is important because if you are too close to someone you might breathe in droplets they cough or sneeze. If you are further than 1.5 metres it is very unlikely that you will breathe in droplets that might contain COVID-19.
#3 Use Good Respiratory Hygiene
Make sure you and the people around you use good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze with:
a tissue that you put in the bin straight after use
your bent elbow
Respiratory hygiene is important because droplets spread virus. By following good hygiene you can 'catch' any droplets that might be produced, and this protects the people around you from viruses including COVID-19.
What about masks?
Wearing a face mask in public won't help you protect against infection
Only wear a mask if you are sick with symptoms that might be due to COVID-19 (especially coughing) or looking after someone with COVID-19
There is a shortage of masks and we need to save them for use when they are needed for sick people or for those looking after them
Cleaning and disinfection
Regular cleaning of your equipment at home, in your car and at work is essential
This is because droplets from an infected person can fall on a surface, and be transferred to someone else's hands if they touch the surface
you should regularly clean frequently touched surfaces e.g. doorknobs, tables, light switches
What if I develop symptoms?
If you develop symptoms such as a fever, dry cough, shortness of breath and fatigue:
Stay at home and practice standard infection control protocols
Seek medical advice, it is important to call ahead first
Call National Coronavirus Helpline 1800 020 080
Call your usual care provider