If you’re in any part of Nigeria, it is generally advised that you practice social distancing with the ongoing spread of COVID-19. This means staying at home when you do not need to go out.
While most business meetings, conferences, shows and events have been postponed until further notice, going out or travelling might be inevitable for some. And that is understandable. For those people, social distancing means that you should maintain a distance of at least 1 metre (about 3 feet) from the next person when you’re in public. This is to ensure that you do not contract coronavirus (or transmit it unwittingly).
If you need to travel and you’re worried about exposing yourself, the following tips can help you stay safe while you are out.
Health professionals have advised that most people do not need masks because,
a) it will do next to nothing to prevent you from contracting the virus if you do not wear it properly, and
b) a cloth mask and most masks used by the public can still allow air particles through. Those who really need to wear a mask are people who are showing symptoms such as coughing. But really, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of the coronavirus you shouldn’t be outside.
However, if your travel is taking you to an area that has confirmed cases of coronavirus, then wearing a mask might not be a bad idea. Usually, an N95 respirator would be the ideal mask but it might be difficult to obtain at this time. Because health workers need it more to attend to people who actually have the virus and also because it is very difficult to breathe through.
Disinfecting your hands
This is the most effective way to protect you against getting the virus. This is because COVID-19 is mostly contracted when you come in direct contact with an infected person’s body fluid or when you touch a surface that an infected person has coughed or sneezed on.
It is very important that you thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds regularly. In case you find yourself in a place where you cannot use soap and water, it is advisable to carry an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with you. The goal is to make sure that your hands are clean at all times because, really, we tend to touch our face without thinking about it. This way, even when you come in contact with an infected surface, sanitising your hands regularly will likely save you when you absentmindedly touch your face.
You might have seen a lot of people wearing gloves to protect their hands, or you also wear them. You might want to know that WHO says that wearing rubber gloves while out in public is not effective in preventing infection of COVID-19. And that washing your bare hands offers more protection than wearing gloves.
Seriously, wash your hands regularly if you want to stay safe.
But if you feel safer wearing gloves, please note that it should not replace proper handwashing. Also, do not to wear the same pair of gloves for an extended period of time because you can still pick up coronavirus even while wearing gloves. And when you touch your face with an infected glove, you can be infected.
So change gloves often, if you choose to wear them, and properly dispose of them. Also, wash your hands after you take off the gloves.
Eating in public
If you are on a trip you might have to eat out. The World Health Organisation has advised individuals to avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products. Coronaviruses are susceptible to normal cooking temperatures (70℃). So you should eat well-cooked food and may have to watch your consumption of refrigerated or uncooked foods (e.g. sandwiches and salads).
This is because while investigations are ongoing to determine the survival time of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus responsible for COVID-19), another strain of coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is known to remain viable at 4℃ for up to 72 hours.
Remember that if you feel unwell, you should stay at home for your safety and that of the general public. And if you are showing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, you should call the NCDC toll-free line to be sure of what to do. Also, if you have no reason to be out, please stay indoors and do these fun things or boost your productivity with these tips.