What is a virus?
A virus is a microscopic organism that can infect everything from bacteria, to animals and plants. The main function of a virus is to reproduce. It reproduces by spreading from one cell to another through its offspring creating new hosts of the virus.
How are virus’s spread?
Viruses are commonly transferred from person to person through touch. This doesn't mean that you must physically touch someone who is sick to contract it. A virus can be transmitted through food or water that is contaminated or even through insects that transfer the virus from person to person. Of course, the normal ways we think of such as coughing, sneezing, sharing drinks, or sexual contact have also a huge impact on spreading.
There are many types of viruses, that vary in severity and how they are spread. There is an array of preventative measures you can take to avoid contracting a virus. I have listed below some easy actions you can take to keep you and your peers safe during this Coronavirus crisis.
1. Be considerate of others
Make a conscious effort to use the inside of your elbow or tissue when you get that urge to sneeze or cough. This will reduce the likelihood of spreading germs to the people around you.
2. Avoid crowded places
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Public places have widely been known to carry more viruses merely because of the foot traffic they get. This may be why people are often seen opening doors with paper towels after washing their hands in a public bathroom. By taking part in social distancing you can limit your exposure to germs and viruses. Avoid large events like festivals or expos where large populations gather.
3. Keep sanitizer handy
Sanitizer is perfect for keeping you safe and germ free in times where you may not have soap and water readily available. Sanitizer reduces the number of microbes, but does not kill every germ. When you are out in public places you are going to be exposed to more germs. Therefore, many people keep hand sanitizer in their cars or purses ready for anytime they may need it. When you are out at public places your germ exposure increases tremendously. After cash handling at a bank or store take extra precautions by sanitizing your hands. Keeping hand sanitizer readily available in your car or purse helps protect yourself when soap and water aren’t readily available.When choosing a sanitizer, select one that has at least 60% alcohol. The alcohol content is key to kill germs rather than just reducing the growth.
4. Wash your hands as much as possible
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Take a moment to think about how many people’s hands you shake a day. How many things do you touch in a given day? Each time you touch something, whether that be a person or object you have the possibility of spreading or contracting a virus. The easiest way to prevent from getting sick is to wash your hands as often as possible. When washing use warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. This allows the soap to carry away the germs with the water leaving your hands fresh, clean and germ free.
5. Keep your hands away from your face
Many people touch their face numerous times a day, whether that be scratching their nose or rubbing their eyes out of pure habit. Without realizing it you may be spreading germs to yourself. The nose and eyes are in fact the most common places for germs to enter your body through. By keeping your hands away from your face, you lower the chance of having germs enter your body that may just be on the surface.
6. Avoid contact with people that show symptoms
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If someone you know is experiencing symptoms avoid close contact with them. Waiting to see them until their symptoms have subsided will lower your risk of getting sick. If someone in your household is sick, try to avoid handshakes, hugs, kisses, etc.
7. Don't share food or drinks
When you go out to eat or for a drink think twice before offering to give someone a taste of what’s yours. By allowing someone to take a bite of your burger or sip your drink, you are putting yourself at risk to germs or viruses that person may have. If you want to share with someone try splitting your food or drink before anyone touches it by putting it onto a separate plate or cup.
8. Stay home if you are sick
If you are experiencing symptoms stay home and get your much-needed rest. By staying home from work, school, etc. you will not only be limiting your exposure to more germs, but will ensure that you won’t spread those germs to others.
Viruses are easily contractible, yet easily preventable. Make a conscious effort to stay aware of your surroundings and adopt these simple measures into your everyday lifestyle. Lessen your risk, improve your safety, and ease your mind with these approaches to keep your health at bay during these uncertain times.