Cover image source: Al Jazeera and Johns Hopkins University
Most of us might remember the deadly SARS epidemic, but if you thought that was scary, you haven’t met the virus known as ‘COVID-19’ yet….
This latest pandemic began in Wuhan, China (first reported on 31st December 2019) and since then, has infected millions of people worldwide!
And how might the situation be on our own home soil? Very grim as it seems; we’ve just registered a 11,034 new infections as of 7 February 2022!
So, how does this virus compare to SARS? This simplified graph below, from when the virus first hit, should give you a rough idea:
The SARS epidemic recorded 8,437 cases within 120 days. COVID-19 recorded over 9,000 in less than 20 days. That’s about 10x faster than the timeline of the SARS outbreak!
COVID-19 has also claimed more than 5 million lives (as at 7 February 2022) so far. Yes, you have every reason to be worried.
The virus is known to be transmitted person-to-person via droplets in the air when coughing or sneezing, but new research has shown that even faecal matter (from those infected) were positive for traces of the virus.
To keep your home and family members safe and healthy during this immensely stressful period, here are some tips to create a hygienic home and living environment.
*Editor’s note: These statistics and facts are accurate at time of publishing.
1) Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
Make sure to use disinfecting soap and scrub your palms and knuckles, between your fingers, and underneath your fingernails thoroughly. Wash for at least 20 seconds, or more!
2) Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer at all entrances/exits
Hand sanitisers can kill up to 99% of germs, making them one of the best items to have (and carry around!) in this time of need.
If you find yourself without access to soap and water, did you know that a hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol content is a great alternative? The higher the number, the better it is neutralising germs.
3) Refrain from touching your face with unwashed hands
It’s common knowledge that harmful germs and bacteria can be easily transmitted, if you touch any part of your face with unwashed hands.
It’s even more obvious with COVID-19, as it was discovered that it could also spread if people’s hands were contaminated with the virus, and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes.
4) Disinfect common surfaces
Use a disinfecting solution and clean cloth to thoroughly wipe down all common surfaces such as tables, chairs, door knobs, handles, the insides of your vehicle, and even YOUR PHONE.
You can also choose to use selected essential oils that ward off bacteria, if you want to go down the natural route.
5) Close that rubbish bin at all times
Prevent viruses and germs from being transmitted airborne, by making sure the lid on your rubbish bin is tightly secured.
If you have an open-air bin that doesn’t have a lid, create a makeshift cover or ideally, find a better replacement!
6) Change and wash your clothes immediately when you return home
Keep outside bacteria/virus away from your living spaces by changing your clothes AS SOON AS you reach home, so it’s best to prepare a fresh change of clothes right at the door.
Now, to ensure that you prevent any unwanted illnesses from spreading further (kill them all!), wash your items in hot water and a good laundry detergent.
7) Avoid public places or open air areas
Many an ill person can attest to this — stay away from public places, especially if it’s the sick season as there are bound to be billions, possibly gazillions, of germs in the air.
If you’re able to, stay/work at home as often as possible, and switch on your air purifier.
8) If you have a low immune system, wear a special face mask
A weakened immunity makes you vulnerable to being infected by others, so if you really do need to go outdoors or interact with people, be smart, be safe, and wear a more specialised mask.
This is the type that’s known as an ‘N95 respirator‘, that is able to filter out smaller airborne particles/droplets, as it’s thicker than the normal surgical mask. Do remember to dispose of it after several hours of use!
9) Stock up on multivitamins and vitamin C
Keep your body healthy and immune system strong, by taking multivitamins and in particular, Vitamin C regularly.
If swallowing pills is not your forté (especially for small children), you can opt for chewables and syrup alternatives — plus plenty of leafy greens and fruits!
Fun fact: Turmeric and Vitamin D also work as immune-boosters.
10) Avoid any form of contact with livestock and animals
The very first cases of COVID-19 were thought to have been spread animal-to-person. Do not take any risks and avoid any interaction with wild fauna or raw meat, including those in wet markets and roadside stalls.
11) Cook your food thoroughly
This goes without saying, but we’re gonna say it anyway: Avoid consumption of raw or undercooked animal products. Who knows what sort of impurities await you!
Make sure that your fresh produce are properly handled and cooked thoroughly, to reduce the risk of bacteria or contaminants infecting you.
12) Do not share food or drinks with others
Symptoms of the COVID-19 virus take up to 2-14 days to manifest, with the infected person exhibiting signs like a fever, cough, flu, and shortness of breath.
Avoid sharing food, drinks, and exchanging saliva with others as that’s one of the fastest ways to be infected.
13) Don’t be stingy, throw away used tissues
As stingy as we are, we REALLY shouldn’t be penny-pinching when it comes to our health. Throw away used tissues immediately (in a closed bin!) and put handkerchiefs to wash as soon as you’re done with them.
Remember to sneeze or cough into your closed hand, flexed elbow, or tissue. Please, do wash your hands immediately after.
14) Quarantine yourself if you are sick
If you think your symptoms are similar to that of the COVID-19 virus it’s better to be safe than sorry. Quarantine yourself and stay home and monitor your symptoms, and take the necessary medication prescribed by your doctor.
Likewise, if you know someone who is sick, by all means, avoid close contact with them for the time being.
We hope everyone stays healthy and safe during this dire period. If you are feeling unwell, consult a doctor as soon as possible and take precautionary measures.
Air purifiers, leafy greens, and sanitisers are our best buddies at this moment, so make sure to stock up and use them wisely!