Slow Down the Spread of Coronavirus – Here’s How

This is an update for my previous post about things you can do to prevent the coronavirus (or any virus) from spreading too quickly.

  • Stay home!
  • If you have flu-like symptoms (even the slightest), do not go out. If you need to go to buy food or medicine, ask your friend or family to do it for you and leave the shopping outside your door.
  • Work remotely if possible.
  • If you are healthy (no flu-like symptoms), you may go out but keep distance to other people and avoid public places.
  • Do not visit friends and family – especially the elderly or who’s immune system is impaired (like cancer sufferers). Instead call them.
  • Wash hands every time you come in, after using toilet and before you eat – use proper technique when washing the hands, drying them and closing the tap. Use hand sanitiser if washing hands is not optional.
  • If you are healthy and not in a risk group, go food shopping during the day. Leave the early morning hours to the risk-groups when it is the most quiet.
  • Gough and sneeze to your sleeve. This is important especially in public places. And very important it the food stores where all of us need to go. Remeber that there is not such thing as innocent or unharmful uncovered cough!
  • Wash the fruits and vegetables with soap (remember to rinse thoroughly).
  • If you get flu like symptoms DO NOT phone the health officials. DO NOT go to the health centre. Treat yourself at home like with any cold. DO NOT go out. Instead ask a friend or family to bring you the stuff you need and ask them to leave them behind your door. But if you develop more severe symptoms like breathing difficulties, that is the time to call your health care officials. Why this is important? Because the health care system is now under huge pressure and all of us need to understand that even if you are worried that you have contracted coronavirus, you do not need to see/call a doctor. If you do not have breathing difficulties, there is no need to call or see a doctor. In the worst case scenario, you might take common cold to the health centre and the staff will get sick during the time when they are needed the most.
  • Cancel you hobbies and holidays (in the next coming months). Cancel everything where several people would gather.
  • Cancel you non-urgent dental and doctor’s appointments.

Remember that we will get thorough this. It is only temporary and life will go on after the epidemic passes. It will be difficult to distance yourself from people (unless you are an introvert). Use internet to connect to people. Chat with people you don’t know. They are as desperate to connect as you are. Sing from the window if you like and if it lifts your mood or the neighbour’s.

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You Can Slow Down the Spread of Coronavirus – Find out How

As the coronavirus is pandemic now and in many countries it has become epidemic, like with any epidemic, the most important thing is to slow down the spread of the virus. It’s no longer a question of avoiding it. Coronavirus will come and most likely you will get it but personally that’s not what I’m worried about. What worries us health professionals is that too many people will get sick at the same time and the health care system is not able to cope. That is why we need everyone’s help in slowing down the spread of the virus.

What Can I Do?

Most important thing is to avoid all unnecessary traveling. Even the small scale traveling like going shopping. Stay home. You may go for a walk but keep distance to the other people you encounter.

Do not visit friends or family, especially the elderly or people with low immune system (like cancer sufferers) because for them the coronavirus may be lethal. You can always phone them or connect with online video if available. Cancel your hobbies and don’t go to the birthday parties. Cancel non-urgent appointments to the dentist and doctor. Remember, this is only a temporary measure for common good.

Work remotely if possible.

Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap before you eat, before you prepare a meal, every time you come in from outside, work or home, and after using a toilet. Use proper technique (here’s how) especially when closing the tap. And remember that the door handle is probably the most contaminated thing you can touch in a public toilet, so try to open the door with your elbow or wrist. If the door has a knob, use disposable tissue to open it.

Cough and sneeze on your sleeve or disposable tissue. Cover your nose and mouth properly (here’s how). Remember that even the smallest cough will possibly spread the virus around you and if you happen to walk past an elderly person when not covering your mouth when coughing, you might be responsible for their death.

Wash the vegetables and fruits with soap (remember to rinse) before you eat them. I use washing up liquid or just regular hand soap.

If you get flu like symptoms DO NOT phone the health officials. DO NOT go to the health centre. Treat yourself at home like with any cold. DO NOT go out. Instead ask a friend or family to bring you the stuff you need and ask them to leave them behind your door. But if you develop more severe symptoms like breathing difficulties, that is the time to call your health care officials.

Please help slowing down the virus and share this post to you friends and colleagues to raise awareness.

Here’s more on the subject

What is the best way to cover you mouth when you sneeze?

Continue reading “You Can Slow Down the Spread of Coronavirus – Find out How”

Coronavirus in Dentistry and How to Protect Yourself

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Like doctors and nurses in hospital, the dental professionals are more at risk of contracting viruses. Dental offices can also be a place where the viruses, such as corona can spread if the cross infection control is not up to the standards.

I have gathered the most important things here for dental professionals to check to make sure you are protecting yourself, the staff and the patients. I have not gone into things like instrument disinfection because that should be organised regardless the coronavirus. If in doubt, read this

Use Soap

Something we should remember when using hand sanitiser is that it does not kill all the viruses like norovirus (the one causing the winter womiting disease). Therefore it is advisable (also advised by the World Health Organization, WHO) for all of us to wash hands 20 seconds with soap even though it is pain in the backside to wait for the hands to dry so that you can pull on the examination gloves. Remember to use disposable hand towels to dry your hands and close the tap either with your elbow or with the hand towel to prevent re-contamination of your hands from the tap.

Cover Up

In the normal situation where we treat healthy patients, a lower fluid resistance and filtration efficiency are acceptable (personally I use either ASTM Level 2 or Level 3 masks). But when we are at greater risk of treating a patient who might carry airborne diseases like coronavirus, TB and influenza, we should use masks that have the maximum filtration. These face masks you recognise from the markings FFP2. 

It is even better if the face mask has a visor attached to the mask. But even if it has the visor, use also safety glasses/your normal glasses under the visor. If the face mask doesn’t have a visor, use safety glasses or separate visor – also on top of your normal glasses. 

Now, I would use also disposable hats like they do when performing oral surgery because people (me too) have these mannerisms of touching our head, scratching our head etc. for example on a lunch break. And do we always notice we do that? If we don’t, then how do we know to wash our hands straight after before we take another bite from the sandwich.  

Check Your Surface Disinfection Liquid

Today is the day to look deeper into the small print of your practice’s disinfection liquid. I did some research some time ago because I wanted to find out if the liquid we were using was killing everything it was meant to. I found out that not all of them kill for example norovirus. And if they don’t kill norovirus, I doubt that they kill coronavirus. 

I cannot tell you which one to use, but the bottle should have all the information needed. If not, contact the supplier or the manufacturer. One thing I noticed when I did my research that the disinfection wipes and liquids for sensitive surfaces are the ones that do not kill viruses.

Wipe Wider

It is good idea to wipe the door and chair handles (the unit’s of course but also the regular chairs) with disinfection wipes. Also it is good idea to go through the other handles of the practice many times a day – even the ones outdoor. 

Provide Hand Sanitiser for Patients

Place a bottle of hand sanitiser in the waiting room. I saw my physiotherapist yesterday and first thing I did was to wash my hands.  Common people do not realise to do this so could you perhaps ask your patients to wash their hands (for 20 seconds) when they arrive to the surgery?

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