Coronavirus precautions: Top 20 tips to prevent COVID-19 infection and survive the lockdown.

COVID-19 pandemic has arrived as an unprecedented event all over the world. Most countries have ordered a lockdown to prevent the further spread of infection. The following are the top 20 tips to remain safe and tide over the difficult times.

  1. Social Distancing: By now everyone is familiar with the term social distancing. Stay at home as much as possible. Maintain a distance of at least one meter if you have to go out. Minimum interaction with your neighbors, shopkeepers, and office staff to cut down the risk of getting infected by an asymptomatic carrier.

2. Use the correct method of hand washing: Wash your hands as often as possible with soap and water. Wash your hands as soon as you come home and after receiving any packets from outside. When you go out you can use alcohol-based sanitizers when soap and water are not available. You must wash your hands when visible dirt is present on the hands as hand sanitizer will not clean disinfect the hands in this situation.

3. Wear a face mask and full-sleeved clothes every time you go out of your home or you have to go on your door to receive a packet. If you run out of your supply of masks than you can cover your face with a homemade cloth mask, or a large piece of cloth folded twice and covering your mouth and nose. The mask should seal your face properly and cover both mouth and nose. It takes some time to get used to breathing through a mask, so do not pull down the mask below the nose as many people do. Covering only the mouth and exposing your nose will not give you any protection. Don’t put the mask on a dirty surface especially surfaces like tables, etc where many people might have touched their hands. Change the mask if it is damp as dampness increases the risk of transmission of infection. Never touch the mask from the front while removing it, always untie or remove the mask from behind.

4. Follow the return home protocol: Follow these steps when you return home:- Leave your shoes outside if possible. Avoid touching metal surfaces like doorknobs and handles as far as possible. Wash your hands immediately after returning home.  Wash your clothes immediately after you return separate from other clothes. If it not possible to wash your clothes separately store your clothes from other clothes. Take a shower and wash your hair thoroughly immediately after you return.  Disinfect the door handles that you have touched and wash the packets that you need immediately. It is wise not to open the boxes that you have brought home if you do not need them immediately.

5. Quit smoking: As respiratory complications are most common in COVID-19 infection smoking can further decrease your chances of survival in case you get infected. Lung function starts improving within days of quitting smoking. Non-smokers will have a better chance of survival but smokers can improve their chances by quitting smoking now.

6. Go low on alcohol if you drink as heavy alcohol intake weakens the immune system.

7. Sleep 7-8 hours every day: Adequate sleep is the foundation of good health.  If your office is closed, you might be tempted to wake up till late in the night. This affects your sleep cycle and the quality of sleep. So try to sleep at your usual time and do not use devices like laptops, tablets or mobile phones for one hour before sleep.

8. Maintain good nutrition: As micronutrients like vitamin D, vitamin C, etc are important for good health so maintain a healthy diet.

9. Order online: order the essential supplies online as far as possible. Check if your local shopkeeper provides home delivery because every time you go out the risk of getting infected increases.

10. Plan before you go outside to buy essential supplies: Spend some time in preparing a list of stuff you are going to buy and the quantity you need for the next few weeks. Buy all the groceries, vegetables and other essentials in one trip. Avoid multiple trips to shops as every time you step out you are taking a risk of getting infected.

11. Exercise regularly: Regular exercise improves immunity and will also improve your lung function. You will have a better chance of survival with better cardiovascular and lung fitness. Don’t make an excuse that the gym is closed. Workout at home as there are plenty of exercises you can do at home. You can do aerobics or bodyweight exercises which do not require any equipment.

12. Control your stress: Don’t check the news and internet frequently to track the spread of the pandemic. News channels are bombarding the news hourly about the spread of the pandemic in newer places and an increase in the number of infections. The Internet is full of live trackers that update the information every few minutes. Repeated checking of these sources increases anxiety and stress which is bad for our immune system. Just check these sources once or twice a day to remain updated.

13. Talk to your friends and relatives to stay connected. You can use video calls wherever possible. This will cut down the stress to a great extent.

14. Don’t hoard the essential items: Just buy the stuff that you need for the next few weeks. If you hoard too much stuff others in the community will not get them. Don’t panic if a few items are out of stock. The supply lines will be restored in a few days and things will become available again.

15. Learn new skills: With plenty of free time, you can practice new skills or improve your existing skills. Online tutorials, Youtube, and ebooks are good options to learn new things.

16. Kitchen gardening and sprouting the lentils: If you have a kitchen garden, you can start growing vegetables there. This will also give you a good physical workout. If you don’t have a kitchen garden, you can sprout lentils at home. Sprouting increases the nutritional quality of the lentils and is a good way of improving your nutrition when things are getting scarce due to the lockdown.

17. Declutter your home: If you have that non-functional hand blender lying in the back of your kitchen shelf and broken toys that kids don’t play with it is time to act. Segregate all the items and clothes that you want to discard. If possible, pack them separately so you can get rid of them once the lockdown is over.

18. Help your neighbors: Call your neighbors and check if they need some help. Maybe you bought a lot of masks and hand sanitizers in a panic then it is time to share them with your neighbors.

19. Stay informed by reading the trusted websites or call the local helpline numbers in case of any doubts.

20. In case of any symptoms like fever or dry cough, contact the local health authorities immediately.

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