What is Covid-19?
It is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before. Like other coronaviruses, it has transferred to humans from animals. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it a pandemic.
What are the symptoms this coronavirus causes?
According to the WHO, the most common symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, tiredness and a dry cough. Some patients may also have a runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion and aches and pains or diarrhoea. Some people report losing their sense of taste and/or smell. About 80% of people who get Covid-19 experience a mild case – about as serious as a regular cold – and recover without needing any special treatment.
About one in six people, the WHO says, become seriously ill. The elderly and people with underlying medical problems such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, or chronic respiratory conditions, are at a greater risk of serious illness from Covid-19.
What to do to prevent it?
To prevent infection and to slow transmission of COVID-19, do the following:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub.
- Maintain at least 1 meter distance between you and people coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Stay home if you feel unwell.
- Refrain from smoking and other activities that weaken the lungs.
- Practice physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from large groups of people.
Hygiene Day: All in your hands!
World Hand Hygiene Day is annually observed on May 5. The main aim of the day is to make people across the globe more aware of the importance of hand hygiene in health care facilities. Sticking to good hand hygiene will not only protect health care workers but will also be beneficial for patients as it will reduce the chances of infections.
The theme of the day this year is “SAVE LIVES: Clean your hands”. Current evidence indicates that the Covid-19 virus is transmitted through respiratory droplets or contact. According to the WHO, the main goal of the Global Hand Hygiene Day is to recognize that hand washing is one of the most effective actions one can take to reduce the spread of pathogens and prevent infections, including the Covid-19 virus.
Personal hygiene has always been important. The current pandemic has brought attention to what personal and hand hygiene is, and how it can prevent one from getting sick. Even before this pandemic, lack of hygiene was responsible for many diseases like gastrointestinal diarrhea, and other flu. However, the rapid surge of cases and deaths caused by the pandemic has created a lot of panic and made people aware that proper hand hygiene can be more effective than medication or treatment to combat COVID-19.
The right way to wash your hands
These are the main steps to follow.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
When you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol. A sanitizer can be effective in killing disease causing microbes. However, it is not a replacement for cleaning hands with soap and water and should only be used as an alternative wherever needed.