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In line with the “Transitioning to Endemicity” phase, the travel border is now opened and more COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted. With that, more people are getting sloppier with the safety protocols as a result from emotional exhaustion of the pandemic. This is a big caveat as the virus remains a highly infectious disease that may cause some people who are at higher risk to be severely ill. In some cases, some patients who have recovered from COVID-19 continue experiencing COVID-19 symptoms in the long haul despite having immunity in their bodies.
These uncertainties call for us to stay vigilant and to continue to take necessary precautions to keep ourselves and others safe. With that, here are some hygiene practices that have proven to be effective and remain relevant to help reduce chances of contracting COVID-19.
Fundamentally, we should understand how the virus spreads. We know that the coronavirus disease spreads when mucus or droplets containing the virus get into the body through eyes, nose, or throat. And often, the virus transmits easily from one person to another via hands.
Washing our hands often is important, but why is it important to use soap?
COVID-19 viruses can spread as virus genomes are present on our hands. They are made up of an outer layer of fats and protein spikes which is water repelling and therefore protects the virus inside it. Each soap molecule consists of a Hydrophilic head (attracted to water) and a Hydrophobic tail (attracted to lipids/fats).
When soap molecules are combined with water when washing our hands, the hydrophobic tail will be attracted to the outer lipid/fat layer of the virus, disrupting the chemical bonds and tear it apart, exposing the virus and killing it in the process before it gets washed away.
It is easy for smaller pathogens such as viruses to become wedged in the cracks and creases on the surface of our skin. The best way to dislodge the pathogens is through rigorous agitation in the process of washing our hands. Once dislodged, they will be washed away through rinsing. This process is effective but it takes time, at least 20 seconds.
…blowing our nose, coughing or sneezing. Research has shown that viruses may survive on surfaces for a few hours up to several days. Hence after we touch any surfaces outside of the home (including money), we should clean our hands.
Wet hands spread germs more easily than dry hands, so drying our hands completely after washing is an easily neglectable but important step. Using a towel to dry them after we wash our hands could help remove germs without spreading them to other surfaces.
In the absence of soap and running water, using hand sanitizer is always a good second option. It is highly encouraged for people to bring instant hand sanitizer with them when they are travelling or commuting to ensure there is always access to handwashing facilities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.” However, as Malaysia entered the endemic phase, people are still learning and adapting to living with the Covid19 virus. Hence, taking extra precautions as we continue to live a normal life is crucial.
In enclosed spaces with poor ventilation, viruses spread when a person is exposed to small droplets or aerosols that stay in the air for minutes to hours. Hence, doing social activities outdoors or at any open spaces are more recommended.
The public should opt for self-test kits as we enter the endemic phase to detect more immediate results with cheaper costs. Get tested if we have symptoms, are in contact with someone who detected positive, or for safety purposes before gatherings and after travels.
To effectively protect ourselves and others, CDC continues to recommend wearing protective and well-fitting masks. Choosing the wrong type of mask may cause gaps that would let air with droplets leak in and out around the edges of the mask. Hence, it is important to wear a mask that fits snugly over the nose, mouth and chin.
Given the hygiene practices shared as above, it is imperative that everyone continue to have a role to play in ensuring the safety of ourselves and those around us. Here at Maclean, we are committed to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 through our expertise in services from cleaning, disinfecting, office cleaning, etc. We are optimistic towards integrating new practices into our daily lives and we commit ourselves to excellence in serving and protecting you and your loved ones by upholding the quality of our service.
If you would like to find out more about our cleaning and disinfection process in detail, please do not hesitate to contact us.