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Monday, March 23, 2020

Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from illnesses such as food poisoning, Flu and Covid-19.

You should wash your hands for the amount of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice (around 20 seconds):

1. Wet your hands with water.
2. Apply enough soap to cover your hands.
3. Rub your hands together.
4. Use 1 hand to rub the back of the other hand and clean in between the fingers. Do the same with the other hand.
How To Wash Your Hands -Healthy Body with Synergy Chemicals
How To Wash Your Hands -Healthy Body with Synergy Chemicals
5. Rub your hands together and clean in between your fingers.
6. Rub the back of your fingers against your palms.
7. Rub your thumb using your other hand. Do the same with the other thumb.
8. Rub the tips of your fingers on the palm of your other hand. Do the same with the other hand.
9. Rinse your hands with water.
10. Dry your hands completely with a disposable towel.
11. Use the disposable towel to turn off the tap.

If you do not have immediate access to soap and water then use alcohol-based handrub if available.
When should you wash your hands?

You should wash your hands:

- After using the toilet or changing a nappy
- Before and after handling raw foods like meat and vegetables
- Before eating or handling food
- After blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After touching animals, including pets, their food and after cleaning their cages

Washing your hands properly removes dirt, viruses and bacteria to stop them spreading to other people and objects, which can spread illnesses such as food poisoning, flu or diarrhoea.

It can help stop people picking up infections and spreading them to others.

It can also help stop spreading infections when you're visiting someone in hospital or another healthcare setting.

Just in case you haven’t heard, washing your hands is a good idea. Like — a really good idea.

The U.S. is at a critical point in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. If we can test more, isolate cases and slow the spread, we may be able to stay closer to South Korea’s curve than Italy’s.

However, because we got such a late start on testing and have limited supplies, the physical distancing part of the solution is now more crucial than ever.

And part of that it is being incredibly vigilant about handwashing and avoiding cross-contamination.

The best data out thus far on the COVID-19 virus is that it is primarily being spread through cross contamination, said Lauren Bryan, infection preventionist at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center.

For example, cross-contamination works like this: someone coughed on their hand or wiped their nose, then touched a surface, and you touched that same surface. Then, you touched your mouth, eyes or nose.

Researchers are now seeing evidence the virus is largely being spread by people who have mild symptoms and have no idea they are sick.
Washing Your Hands: First Line Of Defense In Battling COVID-19!
ashing Your Hands: First Line Of Defense In Battling COVID-19!
“The explosion of COVID-19 cases in China was largely driven by individuals with mild, limited or no symptoms who went undetected,” said Jeffrey Shaman, PhD, professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University Mailman School in a statement about a study he co-authored and published March 16. “Depending on their contagiousness and numbers, undetected cases can expose a far greater portion of the population to virus than would otherwise occur. … These stealth transmissions will continue to present a major challenge to the containment of this outbreak going forward.”
It is also important to remember this is a new virus. It is fast, it is sneaky, and scientists still don’t know everything — it appears to primarily be spread through droplets, as from a sneeze or cough. However, they just don’t have enough data to know things like how long it can live on surfaces, what kind of surfaces it survives best on or how long it may linger in the air.

“The best answer is: We don’t know, so wash your hands,” said Bryan.

Scrub, scrub, scrub

Yes, hand washing is a pretty straightforward concept, but we can go a little more in depth.

First, wash hands for 20 seconds and look beyond “Happy Birthday” as the primary count keeper.

It is important to do the full 20 seconds, and most of us are probably learning we don’t typically wash our hands for that long.

If you have little ones, the ABC song, all the way to “Next time, won’t you sing with me,” makes for a pretty solid 20 seconds.

Or, Google “20 second songs for hand washing” and you will find no shortage of recommendations.

The point is, the longer the better. If you aren’t in the mood to sing and don’t know if it has been 20 seconds, wash for a few more seconds.

How you wash is also important, explained Bryan.

“Don’t forget the nail beds,” she said. “Nail beds are full of cracks and crevices.” And for those ladies with false nails, Bryan said, those can trap extra grime — including viruses and festering mold.

“Remember, it is not just palm to palm,” Bryan added.

Get under the nails, your cuticles, and don’t forget the webbing between your fingers — including the thumbs. And don’t forget the backs of your hands.

So what about soap?

When dealing with a virus as opposed to bacteria, the primary purpose of soap is as cleaner while water wash is to move stuff off your hands and down the drain. Regular old soap does this as good as anything, Bryan said.

“I don’t care if it’s got glitter or smells pretty or is in the shape of a sea shell — it is the action of being an emollient — and getting stuff off the surface of your skin and down the drain,” she said.

Antibacterial soap deals with bacteria. COVID-19 is not bacteria. It is a virus. On top of that, in 2016, the Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of soaps with 19 antibacterial chemicals, saying the industry had failed to prove they were safe to use over the long term or more effective than using ordinary soap and water.

Those chemicals were found in about 40% of soaps. More studies are looking at how some of those chemicals might be harming the environment, leading to bacteria developing resistance to antibiotics and even cause cancer.

The two most commonly used chemicals include Triclosan, mostly used in liquid soap, and triclocarban, mostly used in bar soaps.

Even if antibacterial soaps don’t cause more damage than good, there has been no conclusive evidence to date to suggest household antibacterial soaps produce better results than non-antibacterial soaps.

“Antibacterial soap does not kill the coronavirus,” Bryan reiterated. For this, it’s about “you using friction to scrub it off your hands and wash it down the drain.”

Hand sanitizer

“We use a lot of hand sanitizer in the hospital,” Bryan said.

A lot of that is because nurses and doctors require hand hygiene hundreds of times a day — a soap and water wash that often would result in cracked and bleeding hands.
Washing Your Hands: First Line Of Defense In Battling COVID-19!
Washing Your Hands: First Line Of Defense In Battling COVID-19!
It is important to check the ingredients of your hand sanitizer. Bryan recommends something with at least 70% alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control “recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible because hand washing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands. But if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.”
Making hand sanitizer at home or pouring booze all over your hands isn’t recommended, Bryan said, because it may not reach that 60% to 70% threshold.

Now is the time to be a germaphobe, and be conscious of every surface you touch — whether that is the handle at the gas pump, a doorknob or a grocery cart handle.

When it comes to wearing gloves, it must be remembered that coronavirus is not transmitted through your skin, Bryan said. And you can still transmit the virus with a gloved hand, just like a hand without the glove — especially when you touch your face. If wearing a glove helps you to remember not to touch your face or bite your nails, she said, that is always a good reminder.

As a public service to the readers of the Campbell River Mirror, we have compiled some of the most relevant, factual, science-driven information available on COVID-19 prevention and mitigation factors into one place.

With many public spaces and businesses closing their doors to try and slow the spread of the virus, and many choosing to self-isolate to help that cause, here are a few things to keep in mind over the coming days and weeks.

The best way to avoid getting COVID-19

Wash your hands and stay away from other people. Washing your hands with soap, for at least 20 seconds, as frequently as possible, is the best way to stave off the spread of COVID-19, as well as staying away from work, school, out of public spaces and away from groups of people.

“Now is the time to put some distance between us to keep our germs to ourselves,” says B.C.’s top doctor, Dr. Bonnie Henry, reiterating crucial steps of prevention she has noted since mid-February.

Symptoms of COVID-19

The symptoms of the novel coronavirus are similar to a common cold or flu, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

That includes a fever and cough but most importantly difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. In severe cases, symptoms can include severe lung infections.
Stopping The Spread of COVID-19

Health officials have warned that it can take up to 14 days, or two weeks, for symptoms to appear and can range from mild to severe. Seniors and those with underlying medical conditions are most at-risk of seeing adverse impacts if they contract the virus.

Out of precaution, health officials have made it clear: if you feel sick, stay home.

Not all sick people require COVID-19 tests

This past weekend, Henry came out with a statement surrounding who and why people should or shouldn’t get tested for the virus.

“Even if you have mild symptoms, or if you have no symptoms and you have returned from travel, you don’t need testing,” she told reporters during a Saturday news briefing. “We want to make sure that people with no symptoms understand they don’t need to be tested for COVID-19.”

She added that testing protocols will be focused on health care staff, those in long-term care homes and those linked to the existing outbreaks in North Vancouver. People who show serious symptoms, which include lung infections and extreme coughing, will also be tested after calling HealthLink BC at 811.

The province has tested more than 6,000 people, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, with 4,000 of those tests in the last few days. As people await their lab results, which can take two or more days, they are told to self-isolate. Those who travel outside of Canada, including to the U.S., will be asked to stay away from work, school and other public places for 14 days upon their return.

How the virus spreads

Coronavirus is transmitted through larger liquid droplets – such as when a person coughs or sneezes. That means the virus can enter a second person’s system through their eyes, nose or throat if in close contact.

While the virus is not known to be airborne, or transmitted through the particles floating in the air, and it is not something that comes in through the skin, it can be spread by touch if a person has used their hands to cover their mouth or nose when they cough.

Health officials recommend to always cough or sneeze into the arm and wash your hands regularly. People should also avoid handshaking and hugs.

A good rule of thumb: Stay at least six feet away from another person.

What to do if you think you have COVID-19

Anyone who thinks they may have the virus is being urged not to panic, and most importantly to stay home.

Anyone in B.C. who develops symptoms should first call HealthLink BC, by dialing 811, to talk to a health care worker and determine the most appropriate next steps.

The nurses at HealthLink BC will complete an exposure risk assessment of callers with compatible symptoms, such as cough or influenza-like symptoms. In some cases, nurses may suggest a caller go see a health care provider for assessment and testing, either at an urgent primary care centre or walk-in clinic.

It is highly recommend that anyone who may have COVID-19 call ahead to tell the clinicians that they are coming.

COVID-19 testing is done through a nasopharyngeal swab or throat swab.

Anyone who is tested may be told to self-isolate until the tests can be analyzed in a laboratory. Test results can be found by calling the B.C. Centre for Disease Control coronavirus hotline at 1-833-707-2792.

What happens if you actually have COVID-19?

Anyone with COVID-19 is being placed in quarantine, at their home or in the hospital, for at least 14 days. In order to be released from quarantine, an infected person must have two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

The BC CDC suggests that if you are sharing your home to stay and sleep in a room with good airflow that is away from others. Other precautions include using a separate bathroom, if you can, avoid sharing household items, flush the toilet with the lid down, and clean and disinfect common areas once a day.

At this time, there is no vaccine for this particular coronavirus, and health officials say it could take many years to create.

There is no specific treatment, but many of the symptoms can be managed with home treatment such as drinking plenty of fluids, rest and using a humidifier or hot shower to ease a cough or sore throat, according to HealthLink BC.
Stopping The Spread of COVID-19

Most people recover from coronaviruses on their own, however for people with more serious illness, supportive care in or out of hospital may be needed.

Cancer patients surged to keep appointments

While cancer patients may have extra reason to be extra cautious during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to BC Cancer, the organization says it’s important that they not change their cancer care.

“It’s important to ensure your cancer care continues as scheduled, so please continue to go to your clinic appointments,” the organization says, adding that it’s not important to stockpile cancer medications, as BC Cancer Agency will work with patients to ensure they have their medications.

“Our advice for cancer patients is the same as for any other person,” the organization says. “If you are healthy, wearing a mask is not recommended. The most important way to protect yourself is by washing your hands properly and avoid touching your face. Masks should only be used if you are sick to prevent transmission to others.”

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