WORDS LIM TECK CHOON AND HANNAH MAY-LEE WONG
The coronavirus disease 2019 – COVID-19 for short—is caused by a virus called the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
Because a virus, not bacteria, is responsible for the disease, what normally works to kill bacteria MAY NOT WORK this time around.
DO THESE REGULARLY (THEY WORK)
Washing your hands regularly with soap and water (even when they don’t seem dirty). Doing so helps to break down the protective fatty outer layer of the virus, killing it.
Sanitizers work, but only if the alcohol content is 70% or higher. Alcohol-free sanitizers is not effective in this situation.
NO EVIDENCE THAT THESE WORK
- Hot or cold baths. It’s best to instead clean your hands regularly with soap and water as well as sanitizer.
- Antibiotics. These only work on bacteria.
- Spraying alcohol or bleach onto your entire body. This can hurt your skin, mouth and eyes.
- Hand dryers. Best to stick to soap and water as well as sanitizers.
- UV lamps. These can harm your skin.
- Saline nasal spray. Rinsing the nose has never been proven to protect anyone from respiratory infections.
GOOD HABITS THAT MAY NOT WORK SPECIFICALLY FOR COVID-19
- Getting vaccinated against influenza,pneumococcal disease and Haemophilus influenza type B. These vaccines protect you from these specific diseases, but we haven’t developed a vaccine against COVID-19 yet.
- Loading up on vitamin C, garlic, curry, etc. Certain foods may help boost your immune system, but diet alone is not shown to be effective to protect you against infection.
THE TRUTH ABOUT FACE MASKS
- Wearing a face mask alone is not enough to protect you from COVID-19. You need to also wash your hands with soap and water, as well as use a sanitizer, regularly.
- If you are healthy, you need to wear a face mask only when you are tending to someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19.
- Clean your hands before wearing the mask.
- Avoid touching the mask once you’ve worn it. If you do this, wash your hands with soap and water or use a sanitizer.
- To remove a mask, do it from behind (don’t grab the front to pull it off) and discard the used mask into a closed bin. Clean your hands afterwards.
FEELING ALL ALONE?
With the restrictive movement order in place, being cooped at home can be an isolating and even lonely experience, especially when you’re already anxious about the outbreak and its impact on your life. Try these to help you feel better.
- Try to contact 5 people every day—other family members, friends, etc— via Whatsapp, FaceTime and other communication apps.
- Offer to help obtain groceries and medications for those who are unable to leave their homes.
- Talk a short stroll within your house compounds, or spend some time looking outside the window—this helps to remind you that there is a beautiful world outside your home that you can get back out into once the order is lifted. HT