I know these are difficult times for many of us. Things become even more difficult when faced with a potential threat that we don’t really know a whole lot about. One thing is for certain , even though we are all fearful of different things, we all know what fear feels like…and it’s not fun. I’ve been a registered nurse for over 10 years and want to share some nurse advice on how to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. So here it is, nurse advice for preventing Coronavirus.
Know Your Enemy
The first step in protecting yourself and your loved ones from the Coronavirus is understanding what it is. How can we figure out how to do this if we aren’t sure what it is? Here are the facts: the Coronavirus is just that, a virus. This virus affects the respiratory system and is spread by respiratory droplets. There are no vaccines or treatments for viruses. Viruses simply need to run their course. The average healthy person will not have any difficulty recovering from a virus, however people with weakened immune systems may.
The Best Defense
I know you have all heard the importance of hand washing, however I am going to step up on my soap box and preach about this until I am blue in the face.
This. Is. How. You. Prevent. Coronavirus.
Washing your hands with soap and water is the best defense you have to protecting yourself and your loved ones from contracting and/or transmitting the Coronavirus. I am not talking about a quick squirt of hand soap and a quick pass under the water faucet. I am talking about a dollop of hand soap, lathering it up good and scrubbing adequately between your fingers, palms, wrists and under your fingernails for at least 20 seconds.
Also, for the love of all things holy, after washing your hands in a public place turn the faucet (if its not touch-less) off with a paper towel. Reaching for the grimy faucet handle with your freshly cleaned hands to turn off the water will only reintroduce those pesky germs you just spent the last 20 seconds washing down the drain.
Can I Just Use Hand Sanitizer?
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a great option for when traditional hand washing with soap and water is not available. What most people don’t know is that it is not the hand sanitizer or the hand soap that effectively gets rid of the virus. It is actually the friction you create with your hands when washing them. This friction, the act of briskly rubbing your hands together, is what causes the “break-down” of the virus from contact with your skin and allows it to be rinsed down the drain during hand washing. If you really wanna get down and dirty, you can obtain the same effectiveness simply with friction and water, no soap needed. However, this is a discussion for another time lol.
Sneeze in Your Sleeve
This is a practice pretty much every healthcare worker already implements. When you have to sneeze or cough, do it into your elbow or shirt sleeve instead of covering your mouth and nose with your hand. By covering your mouth and nose with your hand, you are putting secretions on your hands which you will spread to surrounding people and objects when you touch them. If you bury your face into the crook of your arm, you are trapping these little germy-germs into the fabric of your clothing which keeps your hands cleaner and contaminate free. Give it a try next time you sneeze or cough. You’ll like it.
Final Prevention Tip
Try not to panic. I know, I know, easier said than done. Keep this in mind, we have been dealing with viruses foreeeeeever. Remember that pesky virus called Influenza that we all get shots for every year? Well, it too is a virus. It actually claims tens of thousands of lives every year, sadly enough. I won’t go any further about that because I’d have to pull out my big mama soap box. It would get real, real quick. Anyways, the point that I am absolutely failing to make is that keeping calm and thinking rationally will win the race every time. Freaking out in the isle 15 of your local Walmart because you aren’t able to buy 96 rolls of toilet paper is not going to help you prevent the Coronavirus. This is what my family and I use that keeps us from having to hoard toilet paper. You can thank me later. There are also a ton of DIY essentials you can use to replace items that seem to be non-existent in the stores.
Here’s my final food for thought and final nurse advice for preventing Coronavirus. Staying level-headed, sneezing in your sleeve and washing your hands like it’s going out of style is all the defense you need against this pandemic. Everything else is over kill and honestly, a complete waste of time. Till next time, happy hand washing.