What to Do if There is a Confirmed COVID-19 Case in Your Area

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Within two weeks, the current situation of COVID-19 in the Philippines has prompted many to stay at home, eat healthily, and sanitize their surroundings to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Due to the growing number of confirmed cases, it is even more crucial to sanitize and clean your homes and household items, especially if your area has confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Do not panic. Here are some helpful tips:

Avoid Touching Anything when You Get Home

When you get home from essential activities you need to do outside, wash your hands thoroughly before touching any surfaces, food, or anyone in the family. Others even go straight to the bathroom to bathe, effectively removing all the virus you may have carried from public places, including SARS-CoV-2.

High-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, screen door handles, phones, and countertops should be cleaned and disinfected if you touched them before washing your hands.

Wash Clothes You’ve Used Going Out

The clothes you wore outside should not be worn inside the house. The SARS-CoV-2 virus may survive on clothing for hours. It is best to wash clothes that have been exposed, to avoid bringing the diseases into your home.

Wash clothes with warm water to kill the virus and sanitize them. Keep in mind to put clothes you’ve used outside in a separate box to prevent the transfer of the virus to other clothing. Also, avoid wearing your outside clothes and sitting on surfaces such as your bed or your couch.

Disinfect Footwear

Just like clothes, footwear should also be disinfected, especially shoes and outdoor slippers. Avoid bringing them inside your house. Recent studies have shown that the virus can live under the soles of your footwear for an average of 12 hours or more. 

Thoroughly disinfect shoes and leave them outside for at least 24 hours.

Shower After Going Out

Showering after going out is as equally important as washing your clothes, disinfecting your outside footwear, and keeping your home and household items clean. This washes away any dirt, microbes, and possibly any hint of the virus away from your body, particularly your respiratory tract.

Shampoo your hair thoroughly and scrub your skin with antibacterial soap to get rid of the dirt and microbes you might have contracted from outside. Keeping both yourself and your house clean helps keep everyone in the family safe, including at-risk family members

Disinfect Items You’ve Bought 

The ongoing quarantine has required only one person for every household to go out and buy groceries and medicines. When you arrive home, clean and disinfect your groceries. You can do this by disinfecting plastic and metal surfaces such as bottles, canned goods, and any item with plastic packaging.

Fresh items such as fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish can be washed before storing them in the fridge. Wipe eggs with cloth in soapy water before putting them in a basket or in the egg rack. Viruses can live longer in colder temperatures so it is best to disinfect food you’ve just bought to avoid contaminating your food and infecting your family.

Wash Your Hands After Disinfecting

Don’t forget to thoroughly wash your hands after disinfecting anything in your house to get rid of any remaining viruses. Keeping your hands clean will also prevent the transmission of microbes and viruses to any surface in your house and to your family or roommates.

Wash your hands with soap and water for a good 20 seconds. You can sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice while washing and rinsing your hands, so that you can be sure they are clean and sanitized.

Don’t Panic and Don’t Discriminate

Lastly, avoid panicking when going outside and buying groceries. Panicking will only add to your mental stress on how to deal and survive the pandemic. Panic buying also deprives others of the right to buy food to eat and items for disinfection. 

Also, avoid discriminating against people who have been tested positive or are currently under monitoring. Keep in mind that the virus affects all human beings. It is better to spread kindness and awareness in times like this.

Are We Any Closer to Herd Immunity? 

Recently, the term ‘herd immunity’ has emerged to be the newest medical vocabulary used in everyday conversations. 

In a nutshell, herd immunity is a form of protection from infectious disease. It has two routes: through vaccination or natural immunity. In the former, when the majority of people get vaccinated against an infection, the virus is less likely to enter a community, even if there are people who aren’t protected. At the end of the day, the herd is immune to the infection. In the case of the other route, immunity is achieved through natural means.

When a person catches the disease, the body produces antibodies that fight off the virus. Once a group of people, say, a country, reaches the threshold of infected individuals and then recovers, the outbreak would subside, the number of cases goes down, and the herd becomes protected from the virus. 

According to experts, to reach the level of herd protection, 60 percent of the population in the area would have contracted and become immune to the virus. It can be a viable option in addressing the outbreak, if the infected people would only exhibit a mild form of the disease and if the number of infected is spread out over a longer period. This is why it is important for everyone to stay at home so that the spread of the virus can be controlled.

The ongoing crisis might be overwhelming, but we will get through this. For now, know how to protect yourself and your family especially if you live in an area with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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