This article has been medically approved by Superintendent Pharmacist Shilpa Shailen Karia, MRPharmS. - GPhC Reg No: 2087328
The topic on many minds at the moment is keeping germs at bay especially in view of Coronavirus (Covid-19). In this article we’ll look at some ways you can keep yourself, and your family, safe from viruses.
1. Wash hands frequently
You should be frequently washing your hands, especially before eating or preparing food. Ensure family members are washing their hands properly using soap and hot water. Washing your hands can help to keep germs at bay, but if you do get ill, continuing to wash your hands will prevent them from spreading further. Unfortunately, just because you are remaining vigilant does not mean everyone else around you is.
2. When out in public, try to touch things as little as possible
Where possible, try not to touch things while out in public, especially things like stair rails, light switches and door handles. If this is unavoidable, keep your hands away from your eyes and mouth until you have a chance to wash them. The mucus membrane in your eyes and mouth is the ideal place for bacteria and viruses to make their entrance and, in turn, make you unwell.
3. Use hand sanitiser
Hand sanitiser should never be used to replace washing your hands with soap and hot water, but it can provide an extra layer of protection and peace of mind. If you are washing your hands in a public toilet, you may want to use hand sanitiser afterwards. The surfaces in a public bathroom, particularly the door handle, can quickly put germs back onto your clean hands if people have not been washing their hands before leaving. Additionally, you might want to use hand sanitizer after sneezing or coughing into your hands, so you don’t leave bacteria on the surfaces you touch on the way to wash them.
4. Keep surfaces clean
Flu viruses can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours, so it’s worth ensuring they’re regularly cleaned. If a certain door or light switch is in constant use by the whole family, it’s likely to become a rest stop for bacteria. When cleaning with an antibacterial surface cleaner, focus on the kitchen counter tops, light switches, door handles and stair rails. These are places that the whole family will be coming into contact with. You should use your discretion to decide if any other surfaces need cleaning.
5. Keep yourself healthy
Getting plenty of sleep, eating more fruit and vegetables and staying active are all ways to keep your body in the best possible condition to fight off any bacteria you might pick up. You may also want to consider taking supplements that contain Echinacea or Elderberry as these are great for fighting illness.
6. Cough and sneeze into tissues
If you need to cough and sneeze, ensure you are doing so into tissues and then disposing of them. This will help to stop any bacteria and viruses from spreading further.
7. Get a flu jab
If you are particularly worried, you might consider getting a flu jab. These can be arranged at your GP. If you are 65 or older, pregnant, or have other health conditions you are particularly at risk. Visit your GP and they will be able to advise you further.