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Ten most important things to know about the coronavirus and its prevention

 

1. Coronavirus spreads through respiratory droplets


Coronavirus causes a disease called COVID-19, which we commonly refer to as the coronavirus.

The coronavirus spreads with droplets invisible to the eye which are spread by an infected person through breathing, talking, coughing, or sneezing.

The virus also spreads through surfaces which have been touched by an infected person, or where the droplets with infection have landed.

 

In a closed room the virus particles can disperse up to 2 metres. The virus will survive up to 4 to 5 days at the room temperature and at 40% relative humidity. The higher the temperature and the higher the relative humidity, the faster the virus is destroyed.

2. Coronavirus is highly infectious

Every person infected with the coronavirus infects an average of 2 (more exactly 2 to 2.5) other persons. They in turn infect each two or more persons, etc.

More the infected person comes into contact with other people, more likely they are to spread the infection. There is a case in South Korea where 70 people were infected by one person carrying the coronavirus.

 

This means that the infection spreads very fast: by round three one infected person has become seven to ten infected persons, and by round ten the number of infected persons has increased to 57,000!

Coronavirus is even more infectious than influenza!

 

3. The most common symptoms of the coronavirus are fever, coughing, and breathing difficulties


People infected with coronavirus display most commonly one or more of the following symptoms: fever, dry cough, fatigue, sputum, breathing difficulties, muscle and joint pain, throat pain, headache.

Fever, cough, and breathing difficulties are the most common symptoms. However, every person infected with coronavirus may display different symptoms. A person may be infected but have no symptoms or very mild symptoms, and the person feels completely healthy.

If you have a fever, cough or breathing difficulties, seek help early, and call your family doctor.

 

4. The symptoms of the coronavirus occur within 2 to 14 days

The incubation period of the disease is 2 to 14 days, with an average of 5 days. This means the time it can take from the moment of infection until a person starts to feel sick and develops the first symptoms. In the meantime, however, the person is infecting others without being aware of it.

Most people only have mild coronavirus symptoms, but especially for older people and for people with chronic diseases the course of the disease may be more serious – they might need hospitalisation and even die of the disease.

However, there are also cases in Estonia where the disease has been very serious for younger and healthier people.

 

5. A person infected with the coronavirus may not have any symptoms at all

 

It has been found that with some people infected with coronavirus, and who pose a risk of infection to the others, display no symptoms, and feel completely healthy.

Therefore, everyone should be careful because everyone could be unknowingly infected and transmit the virus.

 

6. When sick you must remain at home for at least 14 days


 

 

A person infected with the coronavirus is infectious for up to 14 days after the symptoms occur. Therefore, it is necessary to stay at home for 14 days after you first notice the symptoms. You cannot leave your home. This is also applies, if the symptoms of the disease disappear faster. Staying at home helps to prevent the spread of the disease.

 

7. You can help to prevent the spread of the infection


Wash hands properly and often


The most efficiently way to destroy the coronavirus is washing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. The hands should be washed frequently and very thoroughly because the virus particles can also be between the fingers, on the back of the hand and under the nails.

Drying hands properly is also very important, preferably with a paper towel.

If you cannot wash your hands, for example as in public places, use an alcohol-based (at least 70%) hand disinfectant.

 

Wash or disinfect surfaces at home


Keep the house clean and wash surfaces regularly. Try to spot the most touched surfaces at home, especially when hands are unwashed – for example, door handles, handrails, lift buttons, light switches, backs and hand rests of chairs, WC and bathroom surfaces, soap dispenser handle, etc.

The best method of cleaning is wet cleaning - with a wet cloth and a detergent. If this is not possible, a special disinfectant with an alcohol content of more than 70% should be used.

The disinfectants take time to work, it should not be wiped off immediately. Leave the disinfectant on the surface for as long as indicated on the package or at least for one minute.

 

Heat-treat your food


You cannot catch the coronavirus through food which has been thoroughly heat-treated – boiled, fried, or baked.  It has been established that heat treatment at 60 °C for at least 30 minutes destroys the virus.

Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue


Covering your mouth with your hand is not helpful, because infectious agents on your hand can be easily moved elsewhere. A used napkin is a real health hazard.  Prefer paper tissues and discard them immediately after use.

 

Do not touch your face, eyes, or mouth with unwashed hands


This is how you will avoid the transfer of virus from your hands to the mucous membranes.

 

Air the rooms


When airing the rooms, we can ensure fresh and clean air.

 

Wash fruits, vegetables, and food packages


You must wash all fruits, vegetables, and berries carefully with warm water.  Similarly, food packages brought from the store must be carefully washed or disinfected.

 

8. Spend time only with the people who live with you

 

Obligation to stay at home is a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of infection. As a person infected with the coronavirus may not always have the symptoms and may think they are healthy, it is very important for everybody to stay at home.

Outside the home 2+2 rule must be respected – when outside only 2 people may be together, keeping at least 2-metre distance from other people. This rule also applies, for example, at the food store or nature trail.

When you are unwell, you should not leave the house at all.

The less people move around and come into contact with each other, the smaller the risk of infection and the faster the restrictions can end!

 

9. Wear a mask in public places

 

In public places such as shops, pharmacies, health care institutions or public transport it is safer to wear a protective mask.

Mas is not a protection for you but for other people – wearing a mask helps to reduce the chance that if you cough or sneeze then droplets carrying the infection would reach other people.

Everybody should wear a mask because we never know if you are infected or not.

There is no point in wearing the mask outdoors or at home unless a family member is ill. In this case, it is recommended to use FFP3 protective respirators.

Make sure the mask is firmly placed over your face, covering your nose and mouth. Avoid touching the mask and your face with your hands. If the mask gets damp, it must be discarded. Place the used mask carefully in a separate plastic bag and tie the bag.

Re-usable fabric masks must be washed in hot water of 65-90 degrees.


 

 

10. How can all these emergency measures help?

The aim of the measures is to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Although a large proportion of people only have mild symptoms of the coronavirus, for many people the course of the disease may be very serious. Taking care of your personal hygiene, staying at home, and avoiding contacts with other people helps to prevent the spread of the virus.

 

If we all comply with the rules, at one hand, it will help us to ensure that our hospitals and doctors can help everyone who needs assistance. On the other hand, this is how we can make sure that we, or our family members will not get sick.

 

 

 

Last updated: 3 May 2020