The Novel Coronavirus outbreak in 150 countries has reached pandemic proportions. But with so much information circulating, how do you separate facts from myths? Here is the latest information about COVID-19 and how you can stay safe whilst staying at home from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Understanding what Coronavirus is
There are several strands of the coronaviruses (CoV) that existed among animals. The recent outbreak of the COVID-19 strand that has caused the recent pandemic is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and had not been previously identified in humans.
According to WHO, Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause the illness that can range from a common cold to more severe diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
Signs and symptoms to keep your eye out for
Shortness of breath
In severe cases it can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Should you be travelling in a public space, make sure that you keep a safe distance from others. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines you need to keep 1-3 meters away from people. Wearing a mask or gloves only will not protect you from the virus if you end up touching your face. You need to regularly wash your hands or use hand sanitiser that has an alcoholic value of 75%.
If you are wearing a mask, make sure that it is tied securely behind your head and that there are no gaps by your chin or nose area. When you are discarding it make sure that you untie it from behind and dispose of It. Never touch the front part when taking off the mask to avoid transferring the virus to your hands.
Take care of how you cook your meals
Taking care of yourself and your family also means being careful about how you go about cooking your meals. If you are cooking meat and eggs that have been recently bought from the store, make sure that they are thoroughly cooked to avoid contamination. Always remember to clean surfaces with a disinfectant along with the door handles to avoid spreading germs, or in possible cases, the virus.
How to create a safe space at home
Taking careful precautions to protect your home is essential to preventing and minimising the spread of the virus. The recommended guidelines that have been set out by WHO are:
Frequently clean and disinfect frequently touched areas with bleach and use 70% ethanol to disinfect bathroom and toilet surfaces at least once a day.
Keep clothes clean along with your bedclothes and towels by frequently washing it and drying it thoroughly.
When wearing gloves to handle waste products or when cleaning make sure to not touch your face.
Keep your area well ventilated by keeping windows and doors open.
It is crucial to stick to information that is released from official sources such as WHO, NICD, and the South African government to reduce the fear and panic that is spread by false information.