The recent outbreak of novel coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) has left many people concerned with its rapid widespread around the world, and more people have become extra alert in participating with the preventive measures.
What can you do to protect yourself and the others from COVID-19? We’ve rounded up some hygiene tips as the basic preventive measures that you can practice not just during this outbreak, but also in general.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
It’s the most basic and simple tip recommended by all health experts. We can’t avoid touching various objects and surfaces in our daily life that may or may not be contaminated, and the best way to get rid of the germs is by washing our hands with soap and water.
The Ministry of Health Malaysia has provided a detailed infographic on the proper way to wash our hands thoroughly.
- Avoid touching your face
Since our hands touch various surfaces and can pick up germs, it’s highly advisable to avoid touching your face especially with unwashed hands. Contaminated hands can transfer germs to your eyes, nose and mouth, and from there, the virus may enter your body.
- Minimize physical contact and maintain social distancing
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends maintaining a distance of 1 meter between yourself and other people, especially those that are coughing, sneezing or have a fever. Avoiding crowded places is highly advisable, but it’s inevitable for people who rely on public transportation on a daily basis or work in public spaces like shopping malls. In these situations, please avoid physical contact like shaking hands.
- Practice good respiratory hygiene
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and dispose of the tissue immediately. This is because the droplets you emit may get on surfaces or be inhaled by others, and this spreads germs. Make sure to also wash your hands or at least clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. If you don’t happen to have tissues around, the WHO also advises coughing or sneezing into your bent elbow.
- Seek medical care early if you show symptoms
The basic symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and breathing difficulty. If you have any one of these (or all), do seek medical care immediately or call in advance. This quick action will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility, and protect the people around you from the possibility of getting infected.
- Practise after-travel self-quarantine
If you’ve traveled somewhere during this outbreak, it’s highly recommended that you practise self-quarantine and stay home for a period of 14 days, even if you didn’t come back from a country with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice (China, South Korea, Italy, Iran). This is because you might have been in contact with someone from any of these countries or has been infected, directly or indirectly,
Here are what you should do during your self-quarantine:
a) Take your temperature with a thermometer twice a day and monitor for fever. Do also watch for coughs or trouble breathing.
b) Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Please discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.
c) Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.
d) Avoid crowded places (such as shopping malls and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
e) Keep your distance from others (about 2 meters).
Here’s a reminder to be mindful and considerate of other people since everyone is also at risk! We wish for you to stay safe and stay healthy.