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MANILA, Philippines — The enhanced community quarantine is taking its toll on everybody. Staying at home doesn’t spare you from this. Whether you’re a college student on a forced vacation, a professional working from home, or someone just waiting the entire day on health updates from the news, we’re all at different points in the spectrum of distress and unrest.
But during these trying times, we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to do our best to live our lives and to maximize our hygiene standards – even if we’re working from home.
When we source essential items, we come into contact with other people one way or another. This is true both for people who go down for groceries and those who have items delivered. While quarantine is a good defensive stance as a community against this pandemic, exceptions to this defense exist.
But don’t worry, because that’s safety measures are for. Just don’t forget that you not going outside doesn’t mean your hygiene practices need to lie low as well.
Now, more than ever, individual accountability on our health and hygiene is a must.
Here are the 5 non-negotiables to take note of during this quarantine:
Wash your hands
While there are plenty of handwashing reminders and infographics during this health emergency, this cannot be re-stressed enough. According to the 2017 Philippine Handwashing Index, “50% of Filipinos don’t wash their hands after taking public transportation, while 60% don’t consider doing so after using their mobile phones. 31% of Filipinos have noticed that their co-workers don’t wash their hands after using the toilet, while 21% have seen their partners neglect to do so, and 14% have observed their friends forget.”
Be mindful and always wash your hands before and after meals, after receiving an outside delivery, after using the washroom, and immediately after you sneeze or cough. Most importantly, wash your hands when they are visibly dirty.
Proper handwashing, complete with clean running water—a trusted antibacterial soap like Safeguard, and all the vital steps recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO)—is our first defense against multiple drug-resistant organisms (MDROs). This includes the novel coronavirus, responsible for COVID-19.
In past years, the Global Hand Hygiene recommended washing your hands at least 6 times a day. Today, we should go well above that number.
On the occasion that running water and soap are unavailable, WHO recommends the use of alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHRs). The ABHR should contain at least 60% alcohol and should still cover all nooks and crannies of your hands, similar to the steps of handwashing.
Indian Influencer Harjinder Singh Kukreja demonstrates the importance of covering all the steps of proper handwashing.
Sanitize frequently touched surfaces
This includes your phone, doorknobs, dining and study tables. For people working at home, your laptop should especially be sanitized regularly. For beauty junkies who still apply makeup at home, clean your brushes. Cleaning our non-electronics with soap and water is still our safest bet.
The novel coronavirus spreads via respiratory droplets and can settle on surfaces for a number of days, depending on the material and the amount of virus present. While there are studies being conducted on the lifespan of the virus outside the human body, we can never be too safe when the infection spreads at an alarming rate.
Exercise safety measures when picking up deliveries
During this quarantine, many of us, especially those who live alone, are ordering food and groceries online. Because of this, riders are risking their health and wellbeing to deliver essentials to various houses that need them.
The least we can do is to exercise safety measures when we pick our deliveries up. Avoid direct contact and allow the rider to place your order above the vehicle before you approach and pick your items up.
If you have an extra mask or alcohol rub at home, consider giving it to your rider for extra safety. If you have spare change as well, do consider giving your rider an extra tip.
Take a bath every time you come home
Many households, however, still prefer to make the trip to the grocery and the market themselves. If you are the point person in buying essential items in your household, make it a point to take a bath immediately upon coming home. Remember to use a germicidal soap like Safeguard trusted to remove 99.9% of germs and viruses. A recently published study found that the virus can possibly survive 2-3 days on different surfaces, and this includes your clothes.
This is especially important to people who live with infants, senior citizens, and family with immunocompromised constitutions.
Monitor your own health
Lastly, our best contribution to our countrymen, employers, and family is to stay healthy ourselves. Taking care of our own health is more important than ever in the midst of this pandemic.
Watch out for any symptoms of COVID-19. In case of mild symptoms, don’t self-medicate. Always consult medical professionals, whether online or via hotline. The Department of Health has recently released hotlines 1555 and 02-894-COVID.
If you want to honor our frontliners, you can share and donate to these #ReliefPH drives online. Of course, there’s more than one way to contribute. Numerous inspiring posts on social media show that our fellow Filipinos are more than ready to extend their shops and homes to people in need.