PSA: Here Are the Little Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself From the Novel Coronavirus

Practice these daily habits!

(SPOT.ph) The death toll for novel coronavirus has now reached 425 with more than 20,000 confirmed cases globally as of February 4. As experts scramble for more information on the new virus—and a possible cure—people have been advised to take every measure to help prevent spreading the disease.

Originally from animals, the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) can be transferred between humans "via respiratory droplets," according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These droplets include those from the coughs and sneezes of an infected person, which can transfer to other people. To help prevent coming in contact with these droplets, we round up preventive measures you can incorporate in your daily life.

The Deal With Face Masks

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Supplies of face masks have been low since 2019-nCoV was confirmed in the Philippines, but according to the Department of Health, they aren't entirely necessary. Surgical masks are meant to contain possible infection and are mainly used by those showing respiratory symptoms and those in healthcare. Despite this, the face mask does prevent you from transferring anything to your mouth and nose, and do add a bit of protection. Just note that the World Health Organization warns that wearing a mask may make you forget to practice other safety measures, so don't forget that it isn't enough!

These surgical face masks are disposable and should be treated as dirty objects once used, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in an advisory. Wear the surgical mask properly—blue side facing out—and keep it as close to your face and over your mouth and nose as much as possible. Make sure to dispose of it once it's damp. Using cotton or gauze masks are not recommended. 

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Daily Habits and Practices

Practically all advisories have recommended regularly and thoroughly washing your hands "after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing," according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It's also important to refrain from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 

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Based on the known strains of coronavirus, they typically do not survive on surfaces, but since this is a new one, it is better safe than sorry. A healthy immune system is also your best bet for protection, according to Dr. Susan Mercado in an ANC interview, so sleep well, eat right, and drink lots of water. Here are other ways you can protect yourself from the novel coronavirus:

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  • Stay at least one meter away from a person showing symptoms
  • If you do not have access to soap and water, "alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol" will do, says the CDC
  • Disinfect regularly touched surfaces
  • Avoid touching surfaces such as escalator rails, elevator buttons, bathroom doors, and the like
  • Prevent transferring respiratory droplets by going for a non-contact greetings instead of shaking hands or the usual beso
  • Prepare food properly and be sure to cook thoroughly
  • Cover nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing and throw away used tissues immediately

Main image from Burst/Pexels.

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