How Best to Stop the Coronavirus (Covid 19) From Spreading in Utah
As the first cases of the novel coronavirus, also referred to as Covid-19, begin to appear in Salt Lake City and beyond, Utahans everywhere are beginning to worry about how to prevent an outbreak in their communities. The best way to prepare for the coronavirus is to get ahead of the virus before you become infected. Thankfully, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently released step-by-step instructions about how you can help minimize the coming coronavirus outbreak in Utah. Below are the top 10 best ways you can prevent a coronavirus infection:
#1. Wash Your Hands… and Keep Washing Them
Regularly washing your hands is the very best way to stop the spread of the coronavirus. If you aren’t in the habit of rigorously washing your hands at every opportunity, now is a great time to adopt the habit. The CDC recommends that “you should wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.” Any time you return home from a public place, wash your hands. If you cough or sneeze, wash your hands. Touch another person or a high-use surface like a counter top or a door handle? Time to wash your hands again.
How much time should you spend washing your hands? Well, a helpful rule of thumb is to wash them as long as it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song, which is about 20-30 seconds. The CDC reports that the coronavirus can live on most surfaces for over a week if no tlonger, so washing your hands is the absolute best way to protect you and your loved ones from this invisible menace.
#2. Beware the Friendly Strangers
The truth of the matter is that it is far easier to avoid sick family members and friends than it is to avoid sick strangers. If you are afraid of contracting the virus then you should definitely avoid close contact with complete strangers until the virus is under control. Understandably, such advice is easier to follow in smaller cities than larger ones like Salt Lake City and West Valley. The best practice moving forward is to engage in social distancing habits, like keeping 3 feet of space between you and others and replacing handshakes with footshakes. Precautions such as these can go a long way in keeping you virus-free.
#3. Consider a Big Bottle of Hand Sanitizer
Obviously there are going to be times when you simply can’t get to a sink and a bar of soap in time so using hand sanitizer is another option to keep your body sterilized from the virus. Be sure to only purchase hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60% alcohol. You should cover your hands completely with sanitizer and then rub them together until they are dry. Don’t be afraid to coat any heavy-use surfaces you think might be infected as well. Remember that when it comes to an outbreak, you can never have too much hand sanitizer.
#4. Face Touching is Bad
Most people aren’t aware of this fun fact, but the average person touches their face up to 23 times per hour on the hour. Face touching is common habit the majority of people are unaware they even practice. Trying to break this habit, however, is far from easy. Even trained healthcare professionals working in the field of epidemiology find it virtually impossible to quit absentmindedly engage in face-touching. There are a few handy tricks you can use though:
- Keep your hands occupied with a stress ball or a rubber band
- Put on a bracelet or a ring to remind you not to touch your face
- Try to break bad habits such as biting your fingernail biting or doing anything with your nose
- Use the buddy system by having another person point out whenever you touch your face
#5. Scrub Down Your the Surfaces
According to the CDC, the Coronavirus strain can live on any common surface for several days. And this means most any surface. Your body, kitchen counters, bathroom sinks and toilets, and even your bedding. Most people focus on keeping their bodies sterilized while overlooking the other areas at risk of infection. Granted, you certainly can’t clean everything in your home or office, but you can sterilize the heavily-touched surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, phones, desks, toilets, sinks, and computer equipment. Most over the counter spray cleaners work but if you don’t have any handy feel free to use bleach. Simply dilute 5 tablespoons of bleach for every gallon of water and you should be ready to disinfect.
#6. Get Help If You Feel Ill
One of the reasons why the coronavirus is so deadly is due to the risk of it developing into pneumonia. If you feel ill and exhibit any of the coronavirus symptoms then you should visit a doctor or a clinic as soon as possible. The CDC states that the symptoms of coronavirus can take days to appear after exposure. Here are the most important symptoms you should look out for:
- A chronic cough
- Shortness of breath
- A fever
If you experience any of these symptoms be sure to follow the advice given by the CDC and try to “restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.” You should also consider limiting contact with your pets too. Human-to-animal transmission has yet to be medically documented but contagion remains a real possibility. The last thing anyone wants is to infect their beloved pet when they could have easily had a friend or neighbor take care of the animal.
#7. Cover Your Sneezes and Your Coughs, Too
Even if you are not sick with the coronavirus, you should do the world a favor by covering your mouth and nose whenever you cough or sneeze. The coronavirus thrives and spreads by saliva and nasal projectiles. So regardless of whether you are suffering little more than an attack of your allergies, try to pay the favor forward by covering your face whenever you sneeze. Such small efforts are how outbreaks are contained.
#8. Why You Don’t Need a Face Mask
Honestly, you probably do not need a face mask. While the news is full of tales about Amazon price gouging and a run on face masks at Wal-Mart and other retailers, you really only need to wear a face mask if you are either already sick or must be in close proximity to someone who is already sick with the coronavirus. Faithfully following the previous 7 steps will likely offer you the same amount of protection as wearing a mask around the clock would. If you are healthy, you should push aside the urge to run out and buy as many face masks as you can find. Face masks are better used by medical professionals or someone who is already infected and hoping to keep their germs from spreading.
#9. Self-Quarantine is the Way to Go…Home
If you do feel ill with coronavirus symptoms, you should consider self-quarantining in your home until you are no longer a risk of infection. Coronavirus spreads through direct human-to-human contact, so quarantining yourself until your immune system is able to destroy the virus is the most effective way to halt its spread. If you do self-quarantine, be sure to stock up on non-perishable groceries, paperback books to read, and plenty of toilet paper. You may be stuck inside for the long haul.
#10. A Test You Hope to Fail
As of today, the middle of March in 2020, coronavirus testing kits are not available to the general public for a variety of reasons. Hopefully, more tests will be available as the virus continues to spread across the country. When tests do become available, though, you should definitely get tested if you think you might have contracted the virus. Ignorance may be bliss, but not when it comes to your health and well-being. Stay safe out there, Utah, and wash your hands.