JUST GOOD IDEAS
Stay at least 6 feet away from someone who is sick with a (potential) respiratory infection. No more hand shaking. Many cultures don’t hand shake anyway. No more cheek kissing.
Proper Hand Washing
Good to wash or sanitize your hands after after you come into contact with anything potentially contaminated immediately before you touch anything else. Frequent hand washing. Then there is Proper hand washing.
To do this, you need to wet your hands and then rub the soap all over your hands while singing the Alphabet song or count one Mississippi up to 20 Mississippi. It takes about 20 seconds to rub soap onto back and front of both hands (3 areas) ; in between the front and back of the webs of your fingers (4), both sides of both hands (4), then to get soap each one of your digits (10), then all your nails esp the tips (2). That makes 23 areas to rub soap on. It takes about 20 seconds. Try it. The soap coats the bacteria and viruses on your skin. Rinsing with clean running water, washes them off. Note: if you have long nails, acrylic nails, or painted nails – these are difficult to clean and hence always hold some germs. Dry your hands. Turn the faucet off with the paper towel you dried your hands with. Faucets are a source of germs too. Moisturize afterwards to prevent drying of skin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IisgnbMfKvI
Use hand sanitizer if you can’t wash. Use a brand equivalent in quality to Purell and use at least a dime sized amount of the gel. This process is good to kill viruses and bacteria but not spores. If you can’t wash or sanitize your hands, eat your food like a “Banana”. This means use a wrapper to hold your food if you can’t clean your hands. Do not tough your food if your hands are not washed properly. Do not touch you face or hair unless you have just cleaned your hands. If you have to touch, use the back of your hands or wrist. How to make your own hand sanitizer: https://elainemd.com/2017/05/11/toxic-shopping-cart-cleaner-alternatives/
Wear a Mask if You Are Sick or Not
You can reduce spread of Respiratory Infection by wearing a proper mask. You can reduce the spread of your own infection to other people by up to 60-80%.
I like the idea of everyone wearing masks because it prevents people spraying saliva in your face when they talk, accidentally coughing into your face, and coughing into their hands (yes people still do this). Taiwan, an island of 23 million, where they wore masks and took other precautions, had only 50 cases of Covid 19 as of March 2020, with 1 death.
Western country action and advice is not keeping up. I know the CDC disagrees. But maybe the real reason officials say this about not wearing masks is because there are not enough to go around. Intuitively it makes sense that respiratory contagions would spread less if we all wore masks. Below is a link that shows how to make your own mask.
Looking at the diagram below, 6 feet distancing clearly is not enough unless your are wearing a proper face mask.
“I am wearing this mask so I don’t make you sick” is a beautiful sentiment.
Here is link to make your own non stitched mask from University of Hong Kong. In a pinch, it is better than nothing. This mask should be worn with the face shield. Paper towel does not provide much protection against viruses. (this will be covered in a future blog on Homemade Masks). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNjpH5lBZ8w&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3KiXFAXt34GAUhJgGHmbjTx2uwzSiaK4nVbFg3dRIfPdhu2BDarN5ZE9o
And https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCJcE-r7kcg is a better one but requires some sew machine skills.
There are different levels of mask protection too. Weaker protection are surgical type masks. If they are rated, they are usually part of the ASTM rating system. Then there is the NIOSH rating system. There is N95, N99, N100. The number represents the percentage of air being filtered. Eg, N95 Filters at least 95% of airborne particles. The size of these particles filtered are 0.3 microns in size. These masks have to fit so there is a tight seal around all the edges. If you blow out quickly through your mouth, the mask should puff up. Meaning no air leaking through the sides. At hospitals, the occupational or employee health department fit the masks properly for us. I recommend the brands 3M or Honeywell, certified by NIOSH. They are a little uncomfortable to wear. They make it harder to breath because of an added layer of resistance. https://ohsonline.com/articles/2014/05/01/comparison-respiratory.aspx
Please cough into your shoulder or elbow. Do not cough into your hands unless you sanitize or wash them immediately afterwards. I see so many people who continue to cough into their hands and then touching everything around them. They seem to be completely unaware of the germs they are spreading. When you cough into your hands, your hands are covered with germs. Hence you contaminate everything you touch and can make other people sick. If you cough into a tissue, throw tissue away and then sanitize your hands. Don’t put the tissue into your pocket or purse (!)
Now for some fun – Gloria Gaynor singing, “I will survive” while washing her hands for 20 seconds. Love it.
Use of face masks by ill persons: CDC might recommend the use of face masks by ill persons as a source control measure during severe, very severe, or extreme influenza pandemics when crowded community settings cannot be avoided (e.g., when adults and children with influenza symptoms seek medical attention) or when ill persons are in close contact with others (e.g., when symptomatic persons share common spaces with other household members or symptomatic postpartum women care for and nurse their infants). Some evidence indicates that face mask use by ill persons might protect others from infection.