What you need to know about COVID-19
What is COVID-19
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus.
The disease causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and avoiding close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell.
How does Covid-19 Spread
Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19
People may be sick with the virus for 1 to 14 days before developing symptoms. The most common symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. More rarely, the disease can be serious and even fatal. Older people, and people with other medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), may be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill.
How to Protect yourself against the spread of COVID-19
• Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow when you cough or sneeze.
• Avoid close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell.
• Stay home and self-isolate from others in the household if you feel unwell
• Don’t Touch your eyes, nose, or mouth if your hands are not clean
Treatments for COVID-19
There is no specific medicine to prevent or treat coronavirus disease (COVID-19). People may need supportive care to help them breathe.
If you have mild symptoms, stay at home until you’ve recovered. You can relieve your symptoms if you:
• rest and sleep
• keep warm
• drink plenty of liquids
• use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough
If you develop a fever, cough, and have difficulty breathing, promptly seek medical care. Call in advance and tell your health provider of any recent travel or recent contact with travelers.
How to clean COVID-19
There was a recent study that showed spraying and wiping down a surface with one of the many cleaners/sanitizers does not kill or remove any or the entire virus that was present. Everyday grime actually can coat the surface being cleaned and/or reduce the effectiveness of any cleaning product used.
The use of products that contain bleach, alcohol or hydrogen peroxide are very effective at killing off germs. The use of vinegar, tea tree oil and other natural based products are not showing to be effective in the cleaning of these germs.
Each disinfecting chemical has its own specific instructions. But an important general rule is that you should use soap and water first to clean a dirty surface, properly dispose of the cleaning towel/rag afterwards and then apply the disinfectant. You shouldn’t immediately wipe a cleaning solution off as soon as you’ve applied it to a surface. Let it sit there long enough to kill viruses first. Some recommend up to 20 minutes to let the cleaners work.
Bleach can be diluted with cold water to make an effective disinfectant against bacteria, fungi, and many viruses including coronaviruses. You can typically use one-quarter cup of bleach per 1 gallon of cold water—but be sure to follow the directions on the label of your bleach.
Make dilute bleach solution as needed and use it within 24 hours, as its disinfecting ability fades with time.
Non-porous items like plastic toys can be immersed in bleach for 30 seconds. Household surfaces that won’t be damaged by bleach should get 10 or more minutes of exposure.
Bleach solutions are very hard on the skin, and should not be used as a substitute for hand washing and/or hand sanitizer.
Alcohol in many forms, including rubbing alcohol, can be effective for killing many pathogens.
You can dilute alcohol with water (or aloe vera to make hand sanitizer) but be sure to keep an alcohol concentration of around 70% to kill coronaviruses. Many hand sanitizers have a concentration of about 60% alcohol, and Lysol contains about 80%; these are all effective against coronaviruses.
Solutions of 70% alcohol should be left on surfaces for 30 seconds (including cell phones—but check the advice of the phone manufacturer to make sure you don’t void the warranty) to ensure they will kill viruses. Pure (100%) alcohol evaporates too quickly for this purpose.
Containers of 70% alcohol should be sealed to prevent evaporation. But unlike bleach solutions, they will remain potent as long as they are sealed between uses.
A 70% alcohol solution with water will be very harsh on your hands and should not be used as a substitute for hand washing and/or hand sanitizer.
Hydrogen peroxide is typically sold in concentrations of about 3%. It can be used as is, or diluted to 0.5% concentration for effective use against coronaviruses on surfaces. It should be left on surfaces for one minute before wiping.