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Novel coronavirus update(2) by Prof Oladapo Ashiru

Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick.

Wash your hands;

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

 Five steps to wash your hands the right way

Washing your hands is easy, and it is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop viruses from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Use hand sanitiser when you can’t use soap and water.

You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Washing hands with soap and water are the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol

Sanitisers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations.  However, sanitisers do not get rid of all types of bugs. It may not be effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

Hand sanitisers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.

Caution! Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitisers can cause alcohol poisoning if you swallow more than a couple of mouthfuls. Keep it out of reach of young children and supervise their use.

 How to use hand sanitiser

Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).

  • Rub your hands together
  • Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. It should take around 20 seconds.

 Preventive measures in your home

Due to it being an enveloped virus (meaning its single-strand RNA enveloped in a bubble of lipid or fatty molecules), COVID-19 (as all other coronaviruses) is highly susceptible to soap and disinfectants, which is good news.

There are many chemical disinfectants and sterilising agents used in health care settings on the CDC’s Chemical Disinfectants for Infection Control webpage. Those listed below are readily available at home. Since the COVID-19 Pandemic, many individuals are now using homemade disinfectants globally.

 Alcohol-based disinfectants

Alcohol-based disinfectants will contain either ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol at various levels of strength (50 per cent or greater).

Alcohol primarily kills bacteria. It also has potent fungicidal and viricidal activity at concentrations above 60 per cent.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the microbial action of alcohol thought to be due to its ability to denature proteins. Straight ethyl alcohol is less bactericidal than alcohol mixed with water, as the presence of water allows proteins to be denatured more rapidly.

When it comes to viruses, different alcohols are more or less effective depending on the type of infection in question.

Ethyl alcohol — Provided the concentration is higher than 60 per cent, ethyl alcohol effectively inactivates lipophilic viruses such as influenza viruses, coronaviruses and many (but not all) hydrophilic viruses.

Isopropyl alcohol — While killing lipid viruses such as coronavirus, isopropyl alcohol is ineffective against nonlipid enteroviruses.

When you use an alcohol-based disinfectant to inactivate and protect against coronaviruses on surfaces around your home, make sure it contains between 60 per cent and 80 per cent alcohol.

According to the World Health Organisation, “Alcohol solutions containing 60 to 80 per cent alcohol are most effective, with higher concentrations being less potent. This paradox results from the fact that proteins are not denatured easily in the absence of water.”

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