Defeat COVID-19 with good hygiene

Adeze Ojukwu

As the world relishes the cheery news of an imminent arrival of a vaccine for coronavirus, good hygiene and wearing of masks and physical distancing remain crucial for protection.

This is the position of World Health Organization (WHO) and other health authorities.

Clearly, the necessity for people to comply with the medical recommendations about regular hand washing, avoiding crowded places and eating healthy diets, remain urgent

The top health agency said these advisories will help mitigate the spread of the infection, till a vaccine is manufactured.

Undoubtedly, the world is quite excited over the phenomenal progress made by leading pharmaceutical giants, Pfizer and Biopharmaceutical New Technologies(BioNTech), in the production of a potent vaccine for COVID-19.

The partnership between the United States(US) drug manufacturing firm, Pfizer and its German counterpart, BioNTech to deliver, a viable COVID-19 vaccine, the BNT162 mRNA vaccine program and modRNA candidate BNT162b2 has, unarguably yielded good results.

From the interim phase three clinical trials, their vaccine candidate indicated 90 percent efficacy, a statement from Pfizer revealed.

‘Based on current projections we expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021,’ they stated in an online report.

This assurance is exciting and has offered much relief and confidence, over the imminent defeat of the virus, that has consumed millions of people and businesses, globally.

However, experts are still harping on the over-arching need for self-protection through basic hygiene.
Some of the major safety guidelines and rules outlined by WHO are stated below:

• Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. This eliminates germs including viruses that may be on your hands.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses.

• Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and infect you.

• Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze.

• Then dispose of the used tissue immediately into a closed bin and wash your hands. By following good ‘respiratory hygiene’, you protect the people around you from viruses, which cause colds, flu and COVID-19.

• Clean and disinfect surfaces frequently especially those which are regularly touched, such as door handles, faucets and phone screens.

What to do if you feel unwell

• Know the full range of symptoms of COVID-19. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness.

• Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include loss of taste or smell, aches and pains, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, red eyes, diarrhoea, or a skin rash.

• Stay home and self-isolate even if you have minor symptoms such as cough, headache, mild fever, until you recover. Call your health care provider or hotline for advice.

• Have someone bring you supplies. If you need to leave your house or have someone near you, wear a medical mask to avoid infecting others.

• If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately. Call by telephone first, if you can and follow the directions of your local health authority.

• Keep up to date on the latest information from trusted sources, such as WHO or your local and national health authorities.

• Local and national authorities and public health units are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

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