By Oladapo Ashiru On 29 January 2020.
A woman wearing a face mask passes a Public Health England sign, warning passengers arriving on flights into the UK, that a virus, Coronavirus, has been detected in Wuhan in China, at Terminal 4 of London Heathrow Airport in west London on January 28, 2020. Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday the country was waging a serious fight against the “demon” coronavirus outbreak and pledged transparency in the government’s efforts to contain the disease. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals. In rare cases, they are what scientists call zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans, according to the United States (US) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Most coronaviruses spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do, through infected people coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person’s hands or face, or by touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have touched.
CDC recommends standard, contact, and airborne precautions for management of hospitalized patients with known or suspected MERS-CoV infection. The CDC’s recommendations are consistent with those recommended for the coronavirus that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
How to protect yourself
There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection. You may be able to reduce your risk of infection by doing the following: wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands; and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
How to protect others
If you have cold-like symptoms, you can help protect others by doing the following: stay home while you are sick; avoid close contact with others; cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands; and clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy.
Wash your hands often to stay healthy
You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs: Before, during, and after preparing food; Before eating food; Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhoea; Before and after treating a cut or wound; After using the toilet; After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet; After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste; After handling pet food or pet treats; and After touching garbage.
Follow five steps to wash your hands the right way
Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.
Follow these five steps every time.
1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air-dry them.
Why? Read the science behind the recommendations.
Use hand sanitizer when you can’t use soap and water
You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60 per cent alcohol by looking at the product label.
Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. However,
• Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
• Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
• Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.
Caution! Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitisers can cause alcohol poisoning if more than a couple of mouthfuls are swallowed. Keep it out of reach of young children and supervise their use. Learn more here.
How to use hand sanitizer
• Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
• Rub your hands together.
• Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.
Port Health needs to be on alert. Most of the measures used for Ebola must be activated.
*Prof Oladapo Ashiru OFR is the President Africa Federation of Fertility Societies