How can I protect myself from the coronavirus? Things to know not to get infected

Coronavirus prevention: how can I catch COVID-19 and what to do if there is an infected person in my household? Practical advice from Spain.
Well, forewarned is forearmed.

The planet is on a quarantine due to the large-scale spread of the new COVID-19 virus. China took the first wave, then Italy and Spain became the main centres of disease in Europe.

Working in Spain and having been exposed to a pandemic earlier than others, we can share the experience of combating coronavirus from Spanish doctors and scientists. What do we know for now and how to protect ourselves?
Covid-19 icon

1. Where can I catch the coronavirus?

The first thing we can do for the health of our loved ones is to minimize risks. Globally, we are now on self-isolation, but sometimes we still have to go to a store or pharmacy, get some urgent paperwork done, not to mention that many still have to go to work.

By identifying points of contact with the virus, we can avoid it by changing our habits and incorporating new ones into a daily routine.

The virus is transmitted from person to person by air, which is why the government has established quarantine and social distance. But not only this.

Outside the human body, coronavirus feels great in the air at low temperatures. But even at a temperature of about 22°C and a humidity of 40%, the virus can remain in a concentration sufficient for infection for up to 3 days.

One of the first things to keep in mind is the lifetime of the virus outside its carrier. According to the study, the life expectancy of an amount of SARS-CoV-2 sufficient to infect that can cause infection varies from three hours to three days. Why is it important? We can contact the virus without noticing it, bring it home on clothes, hands and other stuff. Knowing this, we can take the necessary measures for self-defence.

Here is the lifetime of the virus in the five most studied environments which we most often contact daily.
Lifetime of the virus
In the air — up to 3 hours
A sick person can spread viruses within 2 meters. Since its size is microscopic, viruses can remain in the air for up to 3 hours. It is especially true in rooms or places where there is no constant movement of air masses.
Remember that the virus is released not only when coughing or sneezing, but also when talking and breathing, while a person may not have obvious symptoms of the disease. Therefore, it is crucial to keep a distance and not stay in poorly ventilated rooms. But while at home, opening windows is completely safe, and regular airing is preferable.

On copper — up to 4 hours
On copper coins the virus can last up to 4 hours, so opt for contactless payment methods.

On paper and cardboard — up to 24 hours
Paper and cardboard are what we continuously encounter: from documents to the packaging of products and goods. It means that all excess packaging should be carefully disposed, and then hands should be washed thoroughly.
Lifetime of the virus
On steel surfaces — up to 3 days
Steel surfaces that we touch frequently are door handles, water taps, and buttons in the elevator.

On plastic — up to 3 days
Plastic surrounds us everywhere: buttons, pens, bags, packaging, phone, cards. The good news is that it's enough to wash most things with soap and water, including credit cards. If your phone is in a case, remove and clean the case with ordinary soapy water or dishwashing detergent, and gently wipe the phone with alcohol-based disinfectants.

2. How not to get infected

Despite the high contagiousness and spread rate of the coronavirus, simple but effective steps will help to avoid infection. Self-isolation among them is the most effective method. Well, if you have to leave the house, follow these rules.
Simple but effective steps will help to avoid infection
Keep the distance
The distance at which the virus can be transmitted from person to person is about 2 meters. Therefore, when leaving home, do not approach other people more than 2 meters. If someone stands close to you in a store, step away.


Follow self-isolation mode
The most important thing is to avoid unnecessary contacts. Therefore, be wise, do not look for opportunities to meet with anyone now. Avoid crowds, remember that it is better to walk on foot than to travel by public transport. Do not invite friends over and do not plan to visit anyone.
Wash your hands
Wash your hands
The virus, despite the danger, is destroyed by a soap in 20 seconds. So the habit of washing hands is the most important thing you must do to protect yourself! The main thing is to do it right: wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, thoroughly rinsing all the places. Wash as often as possible, after every possible contact with surfaces on which the virus could get. If you can't wash your hands, use disinfecting solutions, the alcohol content should not be less than 75% — WHO recommends using ethanol or isopropanol-based products.
By the way, coming from the street, you should wash not only your hands, but also glasses if you wear them.

Cough in the elbow
The viruses spread the most when coughing and sneezing, and the habit of covering the mouth with your hand guarantees their further spread to all surfaces that you touch. Therefore, learn a new practice: when coughing and sneezing, use your elbow or upper sleeve, instead of palms. Or use a paper towel, which then you should immediately throw away in compliance with safety precautions.

Do not touch your face
COVID-19 enters the body through the mucous membranes, and it does not enter the body from the hands. But it is not as simple as it seems. If there was no direct contact with the infected person, you can pick it up by touching goods and surfaces on which the virus sits, and then rubbing your eyes or touching your mouth. Why? Because we always touch the face, without even thinking about it. Now you need to change habits and track your movements. At first it's difficult, but your health and the health of your loved ones are worth it.

3. How to clean a house during the pandemic

If all members of your family are healthy, being on self-isolation is enough to observe the measures of protection against COVID-19. Regular wet cleaning, airing, washing at the maximum permissible temperature for the type of fabric and washing dishes at high degrees will be the most effective steps in a household routine. Wiping surfaces, handles, switches only make sense if you regularly leave the house.

If one of the family members has COVID-19, this does not mean that the others will become infected. It is essential to observe special precautions by adding new rules to your routine.

First of all, it is necessary to isolate him or her in a separate room and allocate a separate toilet. He should also have his own set of dishes, towels and bed linen. Leave food and drinks at the door and minimize personal contact. Maintain regular communication through your mobile or monitor screen. Yes, it's rather sad, but there is no other way.

You will also need a thorough daily cleaning to avoid the spread of the virus. Particular attention should be paid to surfaces that the infected person could have touched, and to their protective equipment. In case of any contact, wear a protective mask and gloves.
Wear a protective mask and gloves
Wear a mask and gloves
For personal contact and when cleaning rooms shared with the virus carrier, wear a mask and gloves. Follow the time and rules for wearing and disposing of them.

Regular cleaning
Make daily wet cleaning using disinfectants.

Disinfect contact surface
Remember that on many surfaces the virus can live for several days, therefore regularly wipe all contact surfaces: door handles, switches, taps, toilets, telephones and keyboards, tables, window sills. Think about the most often touched things in your house.
Make daily wet cleaning using disinfectants
Wash dishes in a hot water
If you have a dishwasher, use it at a temperature of 60°C and more. If you have to wash the dishes with your hands, be sure to wear gloves, wash the dishes with a lot of foam and use a separate set for infected family members.

Wash separately
It is also better to wash clothes, bedding, towels of the infected people separately at a temperature of 60-90°C. Choose clothes that can be washed frequently at high temperatures.
Wash clothes, bedding, towels of the infected people separately at a temperature of 60-90°C
Follow the rules of the garbage disposal and the use of protection
Used gloves and masks must be put off correctly, thrown into a bag and only then into the trash bin. Collect all household waste from the infected person in a separate garbage bag, then in another and throw it away. Do not put the patient's laundry and clothing in a shared laundry basket. It is best to store laundry items in a garbage bag, wash them separately at high temperature.

4. Conclusion

And in conclusion, we want to remind you of the need to protect not only yourself. When in quarantine, think about the environment. When going to the store, do not pick up a bunch of plastic bags that you will throw away in a minute. Do not throw gloves-masks-bags on the street, be responsible and wise. The quarantine will end, but the garbage in your neighbourhood will remain.

The best way to avoid the virus now is self-isolation and a social distancing. And the most effective protection for you at this time is your common sense and following of elementary rules. It is not so difficult, as it may seem at first.

Stay safe!
Stay safe infographics
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