As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, the current crisis appears to be reaching new territories each day. Thousands of people are now infected, outbreaks are becoming more severe in countries such as South Korea, Iran and Italy, as well as the epicentre of Hubei province in China.
Governments across the world are frantically drawing up ‘battle plans’ in their efforts to combat the virus, with many countries banning flights to severely infected areas and cancelling mass gatherings such as sporting events. So how do we prepare for a potential pandemic, and what kind of measures can you implement to protect yourself?
Wash your hands frequently
Be sure to clean your hands regularly and thoroughly; you’ll need to do so after coughing and sneezing, before, during and after you prepare food, as well as after toilet use and caring for others that are ill. This can be done with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser or soap and water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we should be washing our hands for at least 20 seconds, ensuring that we lather the back of the hands, in between fingers and under nails.
Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as this will spread contamination if you have any germs on your hands.
Stock up on the essentials
Instead of panic buying, try to purchase strategically. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned against buying large volumes of goods, as this kind of ‘hoarding’ of supplies can create a shortage for others who need it.
Pick up a couple of extra items with each shopping trip including non-perishable goods such as rice, pasta, and canned foods. It can also be worth buying additional toilet rolls and hand sanitisers. This then builds up your supplies over time, ensuring goods are distributed fairly.
If you start to feel unwell, seek medical advice as early as possible
While it can be easier said than done, try to stay at home and self-isolate if you are unwell. If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, call for medical attention as outlined by your local health authority. Avoid visiting your doctor or local hospital, as this can spread the infection to those who are already vulnerable.
It is also worth seeking advice from your employer to investigate how your pay may or may not be impacted if you have to self-isolate.