KEY Steps to protect yourself against COVID-19
Guidelines by the World Health Organization specify that one of the ways to reduce the risk of infection is by regularly and thoroughly cleaning one's hands with washing them with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. Regular washing becomes important as the virus tends to be viable from hours to more than a day on different surfaces that are regularly touched with hands.
Follow the proper 6 steps of hand washing. DON'T FREAK OUT if you don't have sanitiser. SOAP AND WATER are enough.
Washing with soap
The grime on our hands contains innumerable viruses and bacteria. Washing with water and soap is a very effective way of removing multiple including viruses & bacteria from our hands.
Viruses such as coronavirus, influenza-causing viruses, Ebola, Zika have their genetic material encased in a layer of fat called the lipid envelope. Soap molecules are pin-shaped with a head that is water-loving (hydrophilic) and a tail that is oil-loving (oleophilic).
Being oleophilic, the tail portion of the molecule tends to have an affinity for and 'competes' with the lipids in the virus envelope. Since the chemical bonds holding the virus together are not very strong, the long oleophilic tail gets inserted into the envelope and tends to have a 'crowbar' effect that breaks the lipid envelope of the virus. The tail also competes with the bond that binds the RNA and the lipid envelop thus dissolving the virus into its components which are then removed by water.
Alcohol-based hand sanitisers
Like soap, the alcohol present in hand sanitisers dissolve the lipid envelope, thus inactivating the virus. In addition, the alcohol also tends to change the shape or denature the mushroom-shaped protein structures that stick out of the lipid envelope. The mushroom-shaped protein structures help the virus to bind to special structures found on human cells and enter the cells. To be effective, the sanitisers should contain at least 60% alcohol.
While a sanitiser can quickly reduce the number of microbes, it does not get rid of all types of germs, and is "not as effective as soap & water when hands are visibly dirty or greasy".
Using a mask
Use of mask by each & everyone has become a fashion. The guidelines about use of facemask by public were already shared with you earlier. The same cane be assessed at https://www.mohfw.gov.in/DraftUseofmaskbypublic.pdf
The WHO says that you should maintain at least 1 to 2 metre (about 3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. This is because when someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. "If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease," says the WHO.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Hands can pick up viruses as they come in contact with many surfaces. It can then transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Practise respiratory hygiene
Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Discourage Open Spitting
Avoid spitting openly. Learn to swallow. If not, spit in a dustbin, in a commode or wash basin & flush with plenty of water.