In any outbreak response, community engagement is crucial in breaking the transmission chain and preventing further community outbreak. This also applies to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) we are now facing. Although there are still much to be understood yet, from our previous response experience, preventive measures, such as proper hand-washing, social distancing and personal hygiene are effective in preventing infection.
Preventive steps cannot stand alone and must be taken together, by all of us, to ensure maximum effectiveness.
The main mode of transmission for COVID-19 is through infected respiratory droplets. Droplets are small drops of liquid that can come out of the respiratory tract when we speak, cough or sneeze. The virus enters the human body through the mouth, nose or eyes.
Two main transmission pathways:
The symptoms range from mild to very severe and in rare cases.
The disease often starts with flu-like symptoms such as cough, weakness or muscle pain and fever. Some people might also have diarrhea, just like different people might experience different symptoms when they are sick with flu.
People with existing illness and the elderly are more at risk to develop severe disease. Patients are treated for their symptoms and the vast majority will fully recover.
If you are sick with flu-like symptoms…
- Stay at home and inform your family, so they can help monitoring your condition
- Wear a mask to prevent your droplets from spreading
- Monitor your symptoms
- Maintain hand hygiene and other preventive measures
- Do not share utensils and wash them separately
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Hand hygiene is paramount, so wash your hands often with soap and water. Spend at least 20 seconds washing your hands and make sure all parts are washed including your wrists. If there’s no visible dirt on your hands, an alcohol-based gel is also a good option.
If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or with the inside of your elbow. Put used tissues in the bin immediately, just like used masks, and wash your hands.
A mask can be a good preventive measure and it is important to use it correctly. However, its main use is to prevent transmitting the virus if you are sick. Avioid touching the outer surface of the mask and only touch the strings of the mask when you take it off. Put it directly in a covered bin and wash your hands.
Again, preventive steps cannot stand alone and must be taken together, by all of us, to ensure maximum effectiveness.
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