COVID-19 is wreaking havoc worldwide. The pandemic is not going to go overnight; we should learn to live with it. To do that, we should know what things we should do and what to avoid.
Do wear a mask covering face at all times when you are outdoors. Be careful about touching your face as this could increase your risk. Do not stop social distancing because of a false sense of security as this is still important to protect you. Do wash your hands before you wear your mask. Only touch the ear loops while wearing and opening it.
Do stay informed of the situation as events and advisories are rapidly evolving. Credible resources include the Centres for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation. Do practice good hand hygiene and wash your hands frequently, especially before you eat, after using the toilet, blowing your nose or coughing and before you touch your face.
If you cannot wash your hands, use alcohol-based sanitiser with more than 60% alcohol. Frequently wash your hands with soap water, since the fat layer of the virus could be broken if you come in contact with soap for at least 20 seconds.
Do cover your cough or sneeze. The best way to cough or sneeze is into your elbow and not your hands. Do work from home if you can. Do leave your home only for essential reasons, such as buying food or medications. If you have to go out, protect yourself and your family members from close contact (stay more than 6 feet away). Do not share water or utensils with family members. Do cancel elective dental, medical and non-essential appointments to hospitals and clinics as these can expose one to high virus load. Move away from others who cough or sneeze. Wipe down all surfaces you come into contact with. Do wipe down doorknobs, countertops, stairway railings and switches in your home every 2-3 days. For kids, do wipe down their toys or wash them in soap and water. Wash your hands after you handle a package. Virus particles can survive for days on hard surfaces so it is important to keep these clean.
One should avoid crowded places since they can have high virus load. A large number of persons can be asymptomatic carriers who transmit the disease unknowingly. Persons suffering from an influenza-like illness must be confined to home. Adequate sleep and rest is a must.
Take immunity-boosting drugs, like vitamin C and D3, zinc and high protein diet with regular exercise. Keep senior citizens separated from others. Persons who have comorbidities like diabetes, heart, kidney or liver disease must take extra precautions.
This virus cannot remain alive without human contact. If we do not let them enter into our body by locking down all entries like nose, mouth and eyes, it has to die outside without infecting anyone. Since it is a respiratory virus, it has a predilection towards nose and mouth. While talking, coughing or sneezing one transmits this, but the vicious cycle ends by keeping oneself covered with a mask.
Hugging, kissing and shaking hands should be avoided. We should permanently stop the habit of public spitting, to prevent aerosols and small particles contaminating the environment. Proper disposal of masks, gloves, and napkins after use is a must to stop transmission. Various drugs that are non-specific and under trial should not be tried by anyone without a doctor's prescription.
Any specific food and medication will not give a complete cure from the virus. Solace of mind with restricted lifestyle, exercise and abiding the rules and regulations given by your doctor can boost immunity and protect the body by itself.
The writer is a gerontologist and a public health specialist.