The Virus Taking the World by Storm
The new virus (SARS-CoV-2) which caused the disease Covid-19 (Coronavirus) is taking the whole world by storm. We are fighting over toilet paper, cancelling local activities, and taking baths in Purell. Of course, any virus that spreads as quickly as this one is very concerning. We should change behaviors that typically spread respiratory diseases. These changes will benefit everyone and decrease the spread of all viruses including influenza and the common cold. The thing is, these recommendations should be common practice all the time, not just when a new bug comes on the scene.
Tips to Help Prevent the Spread of the Coronavirus
- Hand washing. Hands are most clean when washed thoroughly with regular soap for 20-30 seconds (sing the ABC’s) and rubbed dry with a towel. Studies have shown that “drying hands with paper towels was the best means of removing bacteria from the hands, particularly from fingertips” (Source). It is not better to blow dry your hands, the germs are better removed by the friction of a paper towel and bacteria blows into the air for us all to breathe (Source).
- Stay home if you are sick. As a culture, we should support this practice. Many people feel like they must go to work even when they are sick. Responsible people only call out of work when they really are sick, they do not take “mental health” sick days. And co-workers support one another staying home when sick.
- Avoid close contact with others. During any widespread contagion outbreak, we should avoid close contact with other people. Things like avoiding shaking hands or hugging. In my family, we have a kiss on the cheek policy during the winter. I believe we have kept many illnesses from spreading through our whole family by not kissing on the lips. Basically, maintaining a personal space of at least 18 inches is a really good idea when possible but we all know that for small children, personal space is not a thing.
- Cover your mouth. When you cough or sneeze cover your mouth with the inside of your elbow, a handkerchief/tissue or even the inside of your coat. If you are going to be out in public spaces, consider taking cough medicine or allergy medicine to limit the amount of coughing and sneezing.
Ideally, we won’t all have to stay home for the next few months to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If we are careful to keep our germs to ourselves, we might be able to continue life pretty much as usual without spreading the Coronavirus epidemic.