COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a type of coronavirus. There are simple steps you can take to protect you and your family.
COVID-19, like the flu, can be spread from person to person. When a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or talks, they may spread droplets containing the virus a short distance, which quickly settle on surrounding surfaces. You may get infected by the virus if you touch those surfaces or objects and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes. That’s why it’s really important to use good hygiene, regularly wash and thoroughly dry your hands, and use good cough etiquette.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it may be possible for a person to become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.
An analysis of 22 earlier studies of similar coronaviruses, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) published online this month in the Journal of Hospital Infection, concluded that human coronaviruses can remain infectious on inanimate surfaces for up to nine days at room temperature. However, they can quickly be rendered inactive using common disinfectants, and may also dissipate at higher temperatures, the authors wrote. It is not yet clear, however, whether the new coronavirus behaves in a similar way.
How to stop COVID-19 spreading?
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or by covering your mouth and nose with tissues.
- Put used tissues in the bin or a bag immediately.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds).
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
- Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, sharing cups or food with sick people.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs.
- Stay home if you feel unwell