Coronavirus – Symptoms, risks, and hygiene
What is it?
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are known to infect both humans and animals, and in humans causes respiratory illness that range from common colds to much more serious infections.
How did it start?
Coronavirus first emerged in the Chinese province of Wuhan. It is believed to have originated in a seafood market, where wild animals are traded illegally. Coronaviruses are known to jump from animals to humans, so the stallholders of this market are believed to be the first group of people infected with the disease.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms are very similar to that of the flu – coughs, fever, breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, it can cause pneumonia and organ failure.
The incubation period is thought to be between one and 14 days, and it is contagious before any symptoms appear. However, infected patients can be asymptomatic – not displaying any symptoms despite having the virus in their systems.
How does it pass between people?
The virus seems to be transmitted mainly via respiratory droplets that people sneeze, cough, or exhale.
What should I do to minimise risk?
Generally, young children, elderly people and those with underlying conditions (e.g. heart disorders, diabetes, and respiratory disease) are expected to be more at risk of developing severe symptoms.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends the proper use of basic hygiene, such as washing hands with soap and water, and covering your mouth with your elbow when you sneeze or cough.
They also recommend maintaining a ‘social distance’ – which is keeping at least one metre between yourself and others, especially if they are sneezing or coughing.
Some other recommendations include:
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid unnecessary and/or unprotected contact with animals and be sure to thoroughly you’re your hands after any contact.
- Ensure meat consumed is cooked thoroughly.
Good hand hygiene is key
Hand washing and disinfection is the key to preventing infection and minimising risk. The NHS have issued guidelines on correct hand washing practice. You should wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, then you can also use alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol.
This should especially be properly implemented for young children. They are at more risk of contracting the more severe symptoms of the coronavirus, whilst also tending to be less hygienic than adults.
Are hand dryers effective in killing the virus?
No. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, the WHO again recommends frequently and thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser. And once the hands are clean, you should dry them properly by using hand towels or a warm air dryer.
What about air sterilisation?
Another way that you could minimise some of the risk of infection is through the use of air sterilisers. They use ultraviolet light, ozone, photoplasma, and negatively-charged ions, to destroy things like odours, bacteria, and more importantly – viruses. We have previously written a blog post detailing the what, why and how of air sterilisers. They are great for making germ-ridden areas, like bathrooms and washrooms, more clean and hygienic.
The following has been updated 20/03/2020
Our air sterilisers have been successfully tested against things like the flu, Avian flu, E.coli, Salmonella, Streptococcus and Coronavirus
The BioZone AirCare solutions can destroy the Human Flu virus, H5N1, and Coronavirus in 0.44 seconds (5.7 Log Reduction – Source: CNRS France).
The AirCare system improves hygiene both in the air and on surfaces, works 24 hours a day and uses sterilising techniques to clean the environment.
Our systems are designed to work in conjunction with general good hygiene practices for optimum results and to act as an ongoing preventative measure
We hope you now feel a bit more informed about the coronavirus and how to minimise the risks surrounding it. But if you have any questions or comments, please let us know below!