2019-nCoV Prevention: 5 Steps to Make Your Home and Family Virus-Free

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The 2019-nCoV or novel coronavirus, a kind of virus that triggers respiratory illness, is spreading quickly in different parts of the world. The Philippines isn’t an exemption. Recent reports showed that there are some potential cases being monitored in Tacloban and Palawan. It’s important to keep yourself healthy, now more than ever, considering the fatal effects of the virus and the absence of treatment as of the moment. 

That said, take note of these important health reminders to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in your home and through your family:

Wash your hands properly.

Proper hand hygiene is important to reduce the risk of the China virus outbreak infection. Clean your hands with soap and water, rubbing the spaces between fingers thoroughly. You should wash especially:

  • after coughing or sneezing
  • when caring for a sick person
  • before and after preparing food 
  • before and after eating
  • after using the toilet
  • after touching animals or animal waste

Wear a mask.

If you suffer from coughs, are frequently in public places, and work in the medical and food preparation field, you should definitely wear a mask. Here are the steps in wearing a face mask the right way:

  1. Take note of the correct placement. The blue cloth, which is waterproof, should be outside, while the white on the inside, the absorbent part soaking up water droplets from coughs. 
  2. Pinch the thick, tight band of the mask at the bridge of the nose to keep the protective cloth from falling off. 
  3. Pull down the rest of the mask up until under the chin to cover the entire mouth area. 

If you’ll be removing and disposing the mask:

  1. Avoid touching the outside part of the mask as it may be covered in germs. In case you accidentally touch the blue part, wash your hands. 
  2. Pull the strings tucked in your ear to remove it. 
  3. Wrap the dirty mask in paper before throwing it out.

A special reminder for those who cough or sneeze, practice etiquette. Cover your mouth. If possible, ask for a break from work or arrange a work-from-home set-up to reduce the risk of spreading health problems in the workplace.

Practice food safety.

It’s important to exercise caution when handling meat products. Aside from washing hands before, during, and after food preparation, follow these steps:

  1. When buying animal meat, go to trusted sources only. Animals that died from diseases are unsafe.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, as well as surfaces while buying at the wet market. Steer clear from stray animals, too.
  3. Use different chopping boards and knives, or clean utensils thoroughly before food prep to reduce the possibility of contamination. 
  4. Cook meat and eggs thoroughly. Even in areas afflicted by the outbreak, food is safe to consume, as long as it’s handled and cooked properly.
  5. Sanitize your work area after cooking food.

Stay tuned to news and announcements.

Your best source of safety information against coronavirus is the news. Take note of class suspensions as well. As cited in ABS-CBN, these schools in Metro Manila have declared #WalangPasok: 

  • Hope Christian High School in Manila
  • Pace Academy in Quezon City
  • St. Jude Catholic School in Manila
  • St. Stephen’s High School in Manila
  • Uno High School in Manila
  • Chiang Kai Shek College (Algue and Narra campuses)

 If you and the family don’t have anything important to do outside, it’s better to stay at home. 

While you’re tuned in to the news, do make sure that the information you’re getting is from legitimate sources. The last thing you need in this difficult time is to panic over false news. For the record, there have been no confirmed cases yet in Metro Manila, although there are some that are being monitored. 

According to the Manila Health Department, as cited in this GMA News tweet, it’s not true that there’s an incident in Metropolitan Hospital. Recently, it’s also reported that the Chinese boy who was initially suspected of infection, supposedly the first one in the country, also tested negative.

Keep an eye on your health.

Take note of the signs and symptoms of the COVID-19 infection: fever, cough, shortness of breath. These may manifest in two days up to two weeks after exposure. If you’ve traveled overseas recently, especially if you have come from Wuhan, China, get yourself checked immediately after noticing these symptoms. Share your travel history with your doctor. Wear a mask as you visit the clinic.

The coronavirus outbreak looks like it’s not going away soon. Its effects are real and they can be fatal. Protect yourself and your family from illnesses by practicing good hygiene, prioritizing food safety, and being proactive about your health. 

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