Good hygiene is important at any time, but obviously even more so now. Immunologists agree that adherence to good personal hygiene will prevent the spread of viruses such as flu and COVID-19 by over 50 per cent.
COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses spread easily by droplets from breathing, coughing and sneezing. Because our hands touch many surfaces, they can pick up microbes, including viruses. Then by touching contaminated hands to your eyes, nose, or mouth, the pathogens can infect the body. This is why handwashing is so important.
Hand-washing and hand rubbing (the use of hand sanitisers), are both highly effective treatments to prevent the spread of germs. If you have no hand sanitiser, this is no problem, hand washing with soap and water is equally good. If your hands are visibly soiled or dirty, then you must use soap and water.
As COVID-19 and the common flu are both spread through respiratory droplets, covering your coughs and sneezes is particularly important.
If you have a tissue, use this to capture your cough or sneeze. This should then be discarded immediately in a bin. Do not leave the tissue lying around! You should wash your hands after discarding the tissue.
If you don’t have a tissue, you can do the sleeve sneeze. This involves coughing or sneezing into your elbow or upper arm. This will help to prevent the projection of respiratory droplets and will stop the accumulation of viruses on your hands, which may then end up on surfaces.
In this short video we will take you through some basic steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
David Kemp is the Work Health and Safety Manager at Cairns Catholic Education