Article By: Dr. Shuchin Bajaj, Founder Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hopitals
According to the World Health Organisation, the coronavirus pandemic is the “defining global health crisis of our time”, capable of revealing the best and worst in humanity. Coronaviruses are actually a big family of viruses, named for the crown-like effect created by spikes on their surface — these are actually proteins that help them invade human cells. Some coronaviruses, in fact, cause the common cold. What we’re dealing with right now is a new, or novel coronavirus. It has a name: SARS-CoV-2. Don’t confuse SARS-CoV-2 with the coronavirus that caused the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 — they’re related, but not the same. The new coronavirus mostly spreads through respiratory droplets leaving an infected person’s mouth or nose when he (or she) coughs, breathes out or even talks — and when these are either inhaled or ingested by a healthy individual, or transferred by hand from a contaminated surface to his eyes, nose, or mouth.
Here’s a list of precautionary measures based on information provided by the World Health Organisation, the Indian government, and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Protect Unvaccinated Family Members
Some people in your family need to continue to take steps to protect themselves from COVID-19, including
- Anyone not fully vaccinated, including children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated yet
- People with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions
Authorized COVID-19 vaccines can help protect you from COVID-19. One should get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one can. Once the person is fully vaccinated, the person may be able to start doing some things that he/she had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
Wear a mask
If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places. In general, you do not need to wear a mask in indoor settings.
In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus).
Stay 6 feet away from others
Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
Outside your home: Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
Monitor your health daily
Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. Especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet. Take your temperature if symptoms develop.Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
Wash your hands often
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. It’s especially important to wash:
- Before eating or preparing food
- Before touching your face
- After using the restroom
- After leaving a public place
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After handling your mask
- After changing a diaper
- After caring for someone sick
- After touching animals or pets