Pinches blog: COVID19 what you need to know
As of 24-Mar-2020 the 2 most important pieces of advice currently are:
Stay away from other people (complete social distancing/isolation)
Wash your hands
In this article we discuss social distancing and social isolation, the importance of handwashing and how to protect yourself and your family.
See News page for other tips and guidance from the Pinches Clinical Director.
What is social distancing and how is it different from social isolation?
Social distancing is the practice of keeping far enough away from other people to avoid catching the virus from people who don’t know they have it.
If you need to leave your home for an important reason you should be using social distancing to keep at least a 2 metre distance from other people. We should avoid any unnecessary physical contact including shaking hands with other people.
Social isolation means keeping away from everyone if there is any risk you might already have the virus. People who have any signs or symptoms (fever, dry cough) should be staying at home and not interacting with anyone. Any people in the same home as those in social isolation should stay in the home too as they could all possibly be infectious.
Social isolation is also the most useful tool to prevent spread of the virus by those who have not yet shown any symptoms. As infected people may be completely well at first they may be spreading the virus without realising. Staying at home will protect others from further spread.
Social isolation needs to be for at least 2 weeks to ensure all symptoms have fully shown themselves and we know whether or not the symptoms were COVID19.
Why do we need social distancing and social isolation?
If everyone could stay away from others for long enough the virus would not be able to spread. So this is the key most important weapon in our fight against this pandemic.
There are some key workers including those in healthcare, schools and food delivery services who are risking their lives to look after us and our loved ones. We need to do everything we can to protect them and ourselves at this crucial time. The most important thing we can do to help is remain at home.
How can washing your hands help?
It protects you from catching and spreading germs. Viruses spread in several ways. COVID19 spreads through droplets in the air (e.g. when sneezing or coughing), which then fall onto surfaces, and through person-to-person contact. The virus can remain infective on some surfaces for many days. This means even if you are out on your own and completely away from others you could still catch the virus from anything you touch. However, if you wash your hands properly with soap and water this will remove the virus.
If you don’t and the virus remains on your hands for any time you will at some point touch your face, which then gives the virus a lift to your nose and mouth, where it gets into your body and causes an infection.
How can I protect myself and my family?
Follow government advice. Currently we are being asked to remain in our homes as much as possible and minimise social contact. That is the best way to protect ourselves.
Wash your hands frequently and as soon as possible after any contact with surfaces that could be contaminated with virus.
Follow the usual advice for keeping healthy, including drinking plenty of water, eating the recommended amount of fresh fruit and vegetables and trying to keep fit. We are allowed to leave our homes for a walk or run as long as we remain away from other people. If you have stairs you could use these to exercise in poor weather. It is important to keep moving even if you remain inside, because prolonged immobility can bring its own problems. If you need any advice please give us a call.