We're now eight months into the pandemic and learning more about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. As more information unfolds, experts offer suggestions on how to protect you and your family from infection.
"We know that infection with COVID-19 comes primarily from breathing air in indoor spaces where people with the coronavirus have been, and the more virus you breathe in, the more likely you are to become infected," Dr. Gabe Mirkin, who is board-certified in Allergy and Immunology, tells Newsmax.
Here are tips and strategies on how to prevent COVID-19:
- Wash your hands frequently. Studies have shown that good hand hygiene can help slow the transmission of the coronavirus, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that soap and water is the best way to kill germs. If that's not available, the CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your face. According to Healthline, SARS-Cov-2 can live on surfaces for up to 72 hours. Avoid touching your face, nose, and eyes especially after contact with potentially contagious items such as gas pumps, doorknobs, and even cell phones.
- Don't shake hands or hug people. Handshakes, hugs, and high fives are all ways of greeting that have been essentially killed by the coronavirus. Dr. Mark Sklansky, chief of pediatric cardiology at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, explains why: "Hands are warm, they're wet, and we know that they transmit disease very well. They are phenomenal vectors for disease." Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an April interview with The Wall Street Journal: "I don't think we should ever shake hands again, to be honest with you."
- Don't share personal items. Even before the coronavirus crisis, experts warned that sharing personal items such as combs, makeup, and even phones is unhygienic. Teach children who may be going back to school to use their own reusable cups, dishes, and utensils. Label these items with their names, says Healthline.
- Use a tissue or elbow to smother a sneeze or cough. The virus can be transmitted by air. A study published in March in the The New England Journal of Medicine stated that aerosolized coronavirus particles can live up to three hours in the air, meaning that they could infect people hours after being expelled.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it's important to use the right product to sanitize surfaces and kill SARS-CoV-2. Use alcohol-based or other EPA approved disinfectants to clean countertops, door handles, toys, and other surfaces. Disinfect phones and laptops or any other electronic devices you may use regularly.
- Do not gather in large groups. Lately, many of the COVID-19 outbreaks have resulted from indiscriminate large gatherings. Even if a vaccine becomes available, many experts say that things won't get back to normal unless we stop congregating mindlessly, according to Ladders. Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, warned that people congregating in large groups is the primary driver of high infection rates.
- Wear a mask. The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 2 should wear a face covering when out in public. The CDC offers instructions on how to make a homemade mask to slow the transmission of the virus.
© 2021 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.