[NEW CORONAVIRUS] The essential hygiene care you must have

The pandemic caused by the new coronavirus has changed our habits and routines, including our essential hygiene care. Going out and coming home are now risky actions that require new cleaning and disinfection procedures for the majority of the population.

However, many questions remain about which hygiene care is essential and which is unnecessary or overkill. We will help you to know how you should behave at home and outside to avoid contamination by the new coronavirus.

Coronavirus: essential hygiene care for the whole family

How to wash your hands properly

Washing your hands frequently and properly is really important right now. We use our hands to perform a number of actions (voluntary and involuntary), including holding objects and touching our bodies.

Therefore, keeping hands properly cleaned and disinfected is an essential step in avoiding contamination by the new coronavirus.

However, many of us simply wash our hands with soap and water, which is not enough to eliminate the virus. Proper handwashing is an action that should take about 20 seconds and follow these steps:

  1. Wet your hands with water.
  2. Cover your hands with soap.
  3. Rub palms together.
  4. Bring the palms together and interlace the fingers.
  5. Rotational rubbing of the fingers and wrist area.
  6. Rub the fingertips on the opposite palm, this step is very important to properly clean the space under the nails.
  7. Rinse your hands with plenty of water.
  8. Dry hands thoroughly on a disposable towel or tea towel.

After all, how long does the virus stay on objects and surfaces?

A study by the National Institutes of Health, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, has revealed what is thought to be the survival time of the virus on various objects and surfaces. Their findings are as follows:

  • Plastic: up to 72 hours
  • Stainless steel : up to 72 hours
  • Paper : up to 24 hours
  • Copper : up to 4 hours
  • Air: up to 3 hours
  • Porous surfaces, such as clothing, and according to a recent study in the Lancet, the virus can remain for up to two days.

Hygiene and housekeeping

In view of the findings on the average survival times of the virus on the most varied surfaces, disinfection of the house proves to be very important and must respect certain assumptions, namely:

  • Always wear gloves and an apron, preferably waterproof and disposable, when cleaning ;
  • Wash hands, before and after wearing gloves;
  • Use water with detergent or bleach;
  • Rinse with hot water and let air dry;
  • Disinfect more carefully items that you take out or handle frequently, such as door handles and knobs.

Foodborne transmission of the new coronavirus

According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), there is no scientific evidence to date that food can be a means of transmission of the new coronavirus. The Food and Economic Safety Authority (FESA) also supports this view.

The reasons for this belief are based on the low stability of this type of virus in the environment, as well as the fact that a relatively high concentration of the virus is required for contamination to occur. In addition, studies indicate that the acid produced by the stomach is sufficient to degrade the virus.

However, there is still much to know about this new coronavirus. Therefore, there is nothing like adopting a cautious attitude and strengthening hygiene and food safety measures. Some of these actions are:

  • Dry hands thoroughly after washing;
  • Avoid turning off the faucet with your hand;
  • Disinfect work surfaces and tables properly;
  • Don’t use the same kitchen utensils to cut raw and cooked foods;
  • Store food in closed packages or containers;
  • Store food properly in the refrigerator;
  • Cooking food (above 70°C), especially meat, fish and eggs;
  • Washing fruits and vegetables especially well;
  • Do not share food during preparation and/or consumption.

Wearing a mask: yes or no?

This is perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of measures to prevent infection with the new coronavirus. Some health authorities do not find its use particularly relevant to prevent COVID-19, while others advocate it.

To date, the Health Directorate (OMS) advises the use of masks for health care professionals and caregivers of patients with COVID-19, immunocompromised patients, and persons with respiratory disease and/or suspected infection with the novel coronavirus.

The World Health Organization also adds that improper use of a mask can lead to more risks and that the use of this object can give a false sense of protection. Indeed, certain precautions should be taken when putting on and removing masks, such as:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before putting on the mask.
  2. Place the white (inner) side of the mask facing the face and fit snugly, covering the mouth and nose, adjusting the mask above at the level of the nasal bones and below the chin.
  3. When wearing the mask, you should not touch it with your hands.
  4. When you want to take it off, you must again wash your hands thoroughly.
  5. Remove the mask, holding only the elastic bands.
  6. Discard the mask and wash your hands again.

Notice: Disposable masks are not washable.

Gloves: yes or no?

According to the OMS, wearing gloves in the street is unnecessary, as hand washing is more effective in preventing transmission of the new coronavirus. In addition, the OMS warns against the risk that gloves become a vector of contagion, rather than a means of protection, if they are not properly removed, for example.

According to the OMS, gloves should only be worn by healthcare professionals or caregivers of patients with COVID-19. They should also be worn when cleaning toilets or using bleach. It is also important to know how to handle the gloves properly by following these steps:

  1. Use rubber gloves, preferably disposable.
  2. Wash gloves with water and detergent before removing them.
  3. After removing the gloves, disinfect the inside of the gloves.
  4. Rinse with very hot water and let them dry.
  5. Finally, wash your hands.

Note: Disposable gloves should be discarded after use and hands properly disinfected.

As noted, hygienic care is critical in this time of pandemic. Reinforcing personal cleanliness and disinfection and the space we inhabit is an important step in preventing contamination by the new coronavirus.

The detergents and personal hygiene products that we have at home are sufficient to carry out this cleaning, just handle them more carefully and also more often.

And remember that, in addition to isolation and social distancing, the correct washing of the hands is one of the main measures to adopt.

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