Only a week ago the coronavirus was just an international news story, but since it arrived on UK shores the British media has caused panic across the nation. Shelves in shops up and down the country are being emptied of everything from hand washes and toilet rolls to pasta and tea. So let’s take a step back and assess the situation.
How Bad is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus, now officially called Codid-19, is a contagious virus that kills around 1% of those who catch it. It mostly affects elderly people, and those at greatest risk are people with underlying chronic health conditions. So far, over 95,000 people across 86 countries have been infected with the virus and more than 3,200 people have died. However, around 56,000 people die from the flu or flu-like illness each year, so currently it is not as prolific or dangerous as the flu.
Children and young adults appear to be less affected by it. In terms of its danger to the public, it is not very different from seasonal flu. If you catch it, you may become very unwell and may require hospital treatment. But if you take some sensible precautions you should avoid it.
How To Reduce Risk
Regular washing is the most important way to reduce risk. If you wash your hands after you have been out, before every meal, snack and drink, and avoid touching any surfaces or door handles in public places, you will be much less likely to catch it. Try to avoid busy places, buses and trains too.
The recommendation is the wash your hands with soap and warm running water for at least 20 seconds. Washing with water and soap is important – the soap helps to dislodge dirt and grime that the virus can cling onto, and your hands will be clean and virus free. Washing your hands is far more effective than using a hand sanitiser as you are literally washing the germs and viruses offer your hands and down into the sink.
When meeting family, especially children, it is important to ask them to wash their hands well too – kids have a habit of touching everything help spread germs and viruses – this is why schools close for a deep clean as soon as a virus is discovered.
You only need to use a hand sanitiser if you cannot access a basin with soap and water. Hand sanitisers are only effective if they have an alcohol content of over 60%, and you must follow the instructions. Many people make the mistake of using a hand sanitiser and then wiping the excess moisture off their hands – this removes the alcohol and reduces the chances of killing an viruses present. Use a hand sanitiser by covering your hands in the solution and then waiting for the moisture to evaporate. This will give the alcohol time to kill viruses, and also provide a protective layer on your skin to reduce the risk of picking up germs later. Any hand sanitiser that does not contain at least 60% alcohol is not likely to be effective against viruses, although they can help reduce other germs spreading.
Other advice includes trying not to touch your face until after you have washed your hands – this is obviously very hard, the average person will involuntarily touch their face between 300 and 1000 times a day. Many people have stopped shaking hands as a greeting to help stop the spread of the infection.
It is important to take a daily shower too, and wash your clothes, especially if you have been out. The virus can cling to any surface for a while, including your clothes and hair, so washing with a Shampoo & Body Wash every day will help stop catching the virus too.
Spring is Almost Here
The good news is that warmer weather will soon be here and the warmer spring weather will hopefully help reduce the spread of new infections. The science is not clear on why exactly flu and colds decrease in warm weather, but it seems that viruses are less able to survive on water droplets in warmer air, so they are less likely to be spread by coughing and sneezing. Fingers crossed, we’ll soon see coronavirus defeated for this year.