26 June, 2020

7 Tips for You and Your Family to Stay Protected from Viral Infections

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m sure that keeping your family safe from viral infections is at the forefront of many people’s minds, especially when it comes to caring for the elderly, the infirm and anyone who has had to shield themselves away from a disease which could be fatal.

Keeping everyone safe, however, is easier said than done when you are not a trained medical or health care worker and you don’t understand how viral illnesses can spread. In this post, you’ll find some basic, yet crucial tips, to help protect your family against viral infections. 

1. Observe proper respiratory hygiene

If you do not have a tissue, use your elbow to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. If you use your hands for cover, do not forget to wash them thoroughly using soap and water.

Wear your face mask all the time especially when you’re in a public place. You do not need to wear N-95 masks especially if you are not a health or medical worker. You can use cloth masks that you made on your own or you can view masks online and see which one will best suit your needs. However, keep in mind that a face mask does not serve as a substitute for physical distancing. 

2. Get everyone informed

As yet, while there is still no approved vaccine against Coronavirus, everyone is at risk.  It is important that everyone in the family understands how COVID-19 can be contracted – and how quickly it can spread. Your loved ones need to know what they should do to protect themselves – and others- from infection.

If you have young kids in the family, make sure that they understand the dangers of viral infections but make sure that you use words appropriate for their age when you talk to them and try not to scare them.

3. Practice frequent and proper handwashing

Everyone in the family must be encouraged to practise frequent and proper handwashing. Washing the hands should be done before eating, handling food in the kitchen, after using the lavatory and after having been in a public place.

Hand-washing should last for at least 20 seconds. Use soap and clean water and see to it that every part of the hands is washed thoroughly – including the backs of the hands and in between the fingers.

In the absence of soap and water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Pour enough amount of sanitizer across all surfaces of your hands and then rub thoroughly until your hands no longer feel wet. You may find your hands benefit from a hand cream if they become dry and sore from over-washing.

4. Improve everybody’s immune system

Boosting the immune system gives an individual a better fighting chance against viral infections, but this won’t necessarily give you 100% immunity from catching a virus. It does mean, though, that your body may be better placed to fight it off.

Good foods to boost your immunity include almonds, ginger, garlic, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, and yoghurt. Add exercise into your fitness regimen and steer clear of vices such as smoking and drinking too many alcoholic beverages as these may only weaken your body’s ability to fight off viral illnesses. 

5. Encourage physical distancing

Social distancing is a new phrase in everyone’s vocabulary now, isn’t it?  Observing social distancing rules in public, whether 2 metres apart or possibly 1 metre in the near future is going to be vital if we are to resume ‘normal’ living and get our beleaguered industries (for example the hospitality industry) off the ground again.

Physical distancing in public should be observed at all times and we should remember that a viral disease can easily be transmitted through respiratory droplets when a person sneezes, coughs, or talks. So, observing at least 2 metres (6 feet) of distance from other people makes sense.

We should also stay away from places that are known to be crowded and also avoid partying and engaging in public gatherings as much as possible. When you need to go out to shop or buy some essentials, it is best to wear a face mask and bring your hand sanitizer or alcohol with you so you can disinfect your hands as often as needed. 

6. Make it a habit to clean and disinfect 

Protecting your family against viral infections also involves regular cleaning and disinfecting at home. High-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, electronic devices, countertops, desks, handles, sinks, faucets, light switches, etc. should be given extra attention. Use proper disinfectants for electronic devices. Consider the type of material for each surface that will be cleaned and disinfected to ensure that you will be able to use the right disinfectants. 

7. Regularly monitor your health 

This is important for all of us, not just those who are known to be highly vulnerable to viral infections such as the elderly, infants, and those with weakened and compromised immune systems. Even if you think you are healthy, you still need to monitor your health on a regular basis – whether that means a checkup or vaccination against viral infections – for example the flu jab.

Note that some viral diseases do not have obvious symptoms at all. The best thing you can do is to have yourself checked by a doctor. The earlier your viral disease gets spotted, the easier it will be for your doctor to find the most appropriate treatment. 

Remember that it is better to err on the side of caution and, besides, it never hurts to be prepared for every eventuality. In the midst of this global pandemic, every step you take to protect your family will increase your chances of staying fit and well and help everyone else to stay safe too.

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