Over the last weeks, I have been listening to concerns, studying research papers and of course taking note of Government advice about what to do in this current crisis. Here is some practical tips which I have put together following numerous phone-ins on the radio. I have tried to come up with simple suggestions and practical tips. Many of my friends and family have also been asking me for advice as well, so that has all been put into the mix.
I am trying to keep up with comments and questions, and apologise if it is not always very timely – it’s just me managing this site!
We can’t achieve zero risk, but we can do our best to crack this!
This is the first in the series of tips.
Q. Government advice on self-isolating or social distancing – what is the difference?
Staying at Home or Self Isolation is where you or a member of your household has symptoms of coronavirus, namely a high temperature and a new cough and need to stay at home. Staying at home doesn’t mean staying indoors – if you have a private garden, then you can go there. You just need to be away from others.
If you live in a household with others, you need to keep away from them as much as possible, staying in your bedroom, for example, and using your own bathroom if that is possible, and if not, use the bathroom last, and disinfect after use.
At time of writing, guidance is that those with the illness need to stay at home for 7 days, and those in the household need to stay at home for 14 days. If a previously well member of the household becomes ill, they need to stay at home for 7 days from the day of onset of illness. There is a diagram to explain.
More tips on hygiene in this situation to follow.
Social distancing actually applies to us all, not just to the vulnerable and this is all about keeping away from others and increasing hygiene measures to protect others as well as ourselves from the coronavirus.
All this may be a bit of an effort, but we’ve got to do what we can to flatten that epidemic curve. Even if we don’t think we are personally at much risk of being seriously ill if we get the disease – we could pass it on to others who are more vulnerable whilst we are in the “incubation” phase – in other words, we are infected but not yet showing symptoms.
Q: What’s The Journey of the Germ?
The virus could infect us either directly from someone being near us and spraying us with droplets, or indirectly if the droplets either get transferred from their hands to our hands or onto surfaces, and are then transferred to our hands. Our dirty hands are a danger to us if we put them in our eyes, nose or mouth.
However, we also need to think that our hands could transmit the virus to others through hand shaking or touching surfaces. So keeping hands clean is a good plan, and most people are now not shaking hands, but using other ways to say hello such as elbow bumping.
Q: What if I have no hand sanitiser?
Although high alcohol sanitiser (over 62%) is a good alternative to hand washing on the go, if you haven’t got any, don’t panic! The thing to do is to think about the journey of the germ and how you can stop it. Make sure you keep your hands out of your eyes, nose and mouth unless they are clean enough! It is hard, but keep trying.
If you are at home then you don’t need to use sanitiser unless you can’t get to a wash basin easily, for example if you are infirm.
If you are ill in bed, and need to get to the toilet, then sanitiser applied before you go to the loo means that you won’t contaminate surfaces on the way. This helps to protect others in the household from picking the virus up on your hands. If you don’t have sanitiser, try not to touch surfaces on the way to the toilet, and disinfect anything you have touched.
So for most of us, the best we can do is to use the wash basin and soap, water for 20s and wash your hands thoroughly. Make sure you wash your hands at key times:
- When you arrive home, take your coat and shoes off and then wash your hands before touching anything else. I have a sticky note by the door to remind everyone
- When you leave the house (stops spreading illness)
- After using the toilet
- After using a tissue
- Before preparing ready-to-eat food or eating with your fingers
- After preparing raw foods
- When you arrive at work
- After taking care of anyone who is sick, or handling their laundry, or cleaning up
Q. Do I need to wear a face mask?
Most advice is that there is no need for a mask. If there is any reason for you to need a face mask to protect others, then you will be advised by a health professional.
More tips to come soon!