Protect your Family from the Novel Coronavirus
by Dr. Surya Bhagwati on Mar 17, 2020
COVID-19 is a pandemic of a global nature that has affected people in almost every corner of the world. It is a novel disease so the world is learning new methods to tackle it each day. This is a rare situation where each of us as citizens of the world have a part to play to support governments and humanity in general. The role with family has to play is vital to ensure a slowdown in the spread of COVID-19 . Small changes that we can make in our personal behaviour can have a significant impact in buying precious time to slow down the spread, until the healthcare experts can come up with a coronavirus treatment or vaccine.
First, it is important to understand how COVID-19 spreads, so we can effectively combat it. The novel coronavirus is currently known to spread from person to person in close contact (1 meter of distance from an infected person ), especially if the person coughs or sneezes without covering their nose or mouth. Another in-direct method of transmission is through the droplets surviving on surfaces, such a s door knobs, elevator buttons, tables and so forth. Touching an infected surface and then touching one’s nose, mouth or eyes can transmit the diseases.
Self-distancing or social distancing is the most advised recommendation from healthcare and government bodies. While quarantine and self-isolation are new words that mean, “stay at home and you can do your bit to help humanity”. Now that a lot of us are in lockdown, what one does at home, to ensure safety of our near and dear is what we will explore in this blog.
- Hands tend to touch more surfaces, so if one has coughed and sneezed into the hands, the chances of spreading the germs is higher. Hence it is recommended to cough and sneeze and cover with your elbow (since that touches less surfaces) or in a tissue paper which should be disposed right away.
- Learning how to wash your hands correctly is imperative. Apply soap and scrub vigorously from your fingernails till your wrists, count till twenty while doing this and then rinse it of (contrary to popular belief, water temperature doesn’t really matter). A big mistake people make is shake of the water droplets instead of drying it properly with a napkin or tissue.
- Focus on cleaning and disinfecting high-touch points in the house – door knobs, switches, television remotes, cabinets, draws, microwaves, oven and so on.
- To boost immunity system and optimum health the entire family needs a balanced diet. This includes a mix of grains, vegetables, fruits, proteins and healthy fats.
- Eat about 200g of protein through the day. It can be in the form of beans, eggs, tofu, meat. For a child it should be the size of their fist.
- Rooted vegetables and fruits such as apples and orange can be refrigerated and stored for a few weeks. Eating 2.5 cups of vegetables and 1-2 cups of fruit a day is advised. Avoid tinned fruits and vegetables.
- Processed grains should be avoided. Look for options made of oats, whole grains, quinoa, brown or black rice.
While these are steps to ensure optimum health, these are preventive measures. There is also a possibility that a family member has fallen sick during this time. Until this member can be tested, there a steps that the family can take when a family member is unwell or infected in the same house when we are all in a state of lock-down.
- The person ill or infected should be isolated in one room with no interaction with other members. This means if possible they should use a separate bathroom, and sanitize post use. If you are sharing a common bathroom, please use gloves and masks at all times and sanitize door knobs, flushes, faucets, light switches and any other high-touch point surfaces.
- If any interaction is needed the carrier and care giver should both only interact or be in the same space if wearing gloves and masks.
- Ensure good ventilation is maintained in the house with opening of windows and use of air-conditioning.
- Items such as towels, dishes, bedding should not be shared with the patient
- If the patient’s symptoms get worse and need to be taken to the nearest hospital, a family member should drive the patient if possible. While in the same car, both the driver and passenger should be wearing masks and gloves and the window should be kept open. Post the hospital visit the car should be cleaned and sanitized as much as possible
This is an unprecedented time where there are very few answers to our questions. As responsible human beings we need to follow the rules and recommendations given by the medical authorities and government bodies. We need to stop thinking of just ourselves and more about the people we live with – especially if they are elderly. Maintaining hygiene precautions, balanced diets, exercise routines, social distancing are small steps that each of us can practise to do out bit to help the world get past this coronavirus.