Practical tips to protect your family from the Coronavirus (apart from washing your hands)

Who would have known when 2020 hit a mere 2,5 months ago that the world would face the Coronavirus? A challenge of this magnitude? History is in the making. It highlights again how you really should not worry about tomorrow, as you have no idea what it may hold.

This is also true in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. So instead of panicking, be sure that you are doing all that you can to protect yourself and your family from the Coronavirus. We all know by now that frequently washing your hands and avoiding people who are coughing are considered the main preventative measures. Here are a few other tips and some practical survival skills that will also help.

How to protect your family from the Coronavirus

First of all, keep perspective

This virus is a massive disaster that has hit our planet. But it’s not the first time this has happened, and sadly probably also not the last. The biggest majority of people who get the infection will experience mild illness and may not even need medical care. Only in about 4% of cases, it will be so serious that individuals need ICU care, and only a proportion of these people will die from the infection.

The challenge is that it is so incredibly contagious that larger numbers of infections will lead to a very large number of people needing specialist care. And we know that our healthcare system is not equipped to deal with this.

The measures that we are implementing now are aimed at reducing this first spike in infection rate, so that people get the disease over a longer period of time. This way we will be able to help more people who need assistance.

After the first few weeks, the impact on the economy of a country becomes so great that they go over into what is called mitigation, meaning that life will carry on and the virus will run its course.

Your hands are not the only surfaces involved

You should definitely wash your hands whenever you have been in a public area (as well as frequently in between). But remember that you also touched your phone, your keys, your handbag, your wallet, your bank card… The virus can remain for several hours (or even days, depending on the temperature) on these products.

Set up a station next to your front door, where you put down and leave all your belongings when entering your house. After washing your hands you may want to consider wiping down these items with a disinfectant.

As alcohol sprays are mostly out of stock, a bleach solution of 1 part of bleach on 99 parts of water may be your next best bet in killing the virus. You can easily make your own solution:

  • Mix the solution in a well-ventilated area
  • Don’t let the bleach come in direct contact with your skin. If it does, wash your hands immediately.
  • Make the mix in a spray bottle – add 10 ml of bleach to 990ml of water.
  • Once mixed, keep away from children
  • Remember that the solution loses potency, so make a new mix every day.

Obviously if using a bleach solution you need to make sure that it is safe to use on whichever item.

In this time, consider using a bag and wallet that won’t be damaged by these solutions.

It is not recommended that you use bleach solutions on your Smartphone.

Self-isolate

Yes, this is not a nice or easy thing to do. But until this thing passes, it may be one of the best measures you can take. When someone coughs or sneezes, tiny droplets containing the virus can hang in the air for several hours. So even if you touch nothing and wash your hands frequently, spending time and breathing the air in a high-traffic area are putting you at risk.

Apart from just isolating yourself to protect your family from the Coronavirus, take the trouble to help people at risk to do so too. An elderly neighbour or a family member with heart disease or diabetes are at risk of complications of Coronavirus. Offer to do their shopping or run any crucial errands on their behalf.

It may not be the best time to visit the grandparents. If they are staying at home, but you are still working, you may well be the person carrying the virus to them.

READ MORE: What to do when your baby has a fever

Take it outside

The rate of contracting the virus is far smaller in the outdoors, where good ventilation and sunshine can help to prevent the spread and to shorten the survival time of the virus on surfaces.

So if you do need an outing with the kids, a trip to the park will be safer than to a restaurant play area or a mall.

Stay informed

Social media and fake news are contributing to the panic everyone is feeling. It amazes me that people still find time to think up so much nonsense.

For your own sanity, you should consider stepping back from the chaos on social media platforms.

Follow these organisations who will supply you with all the (correct) facts and stats that you may need:

Immunise

And no, I’m sadly not talking about a Coronavirus immunisation which will only be available in 12-18 months as these things take time to develop. But in many cases, people sick with Coronavirus will get a secondary lung infection by a bacteria named Streptococcus pneumonia. This infection is often the fatal one. An immunisation against this bacteria called Prevenar is included in our national immunisation programme for children, so if your child’s immunisations are up to date he/she is protected. Older people and those with other medical conditions should consider getting this immunisation as soon as possible.

This is also a good year to get the flu vaccine, as soon as it becomes available. You don’t want Influenza on top of the Coronavirus.

We’re all in this together

Now is the time to reach out to those around you. Spread positivity and support, not fake news and fear. Help vulnerable people in your community to isolate themselves by buying their groceries and running their errands. Consider taking a meal or two to the families of our healthcare workers, as they have a tough time ahead and play a crucial role in the whole process. Support our small businesses, as many of them may well not survive the next few months. Help each other with childcare.

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Christine

Christine Klynhans is a midwife and lactation consultant with a firm believe that gentle parenting can change the world. She has worked in midwifery since competing her B.Cur nursing degree in 2004, and has a special passion for education and for writing. She currently works in a well-baby clinic and give antenatal classes and breastfeeding support. She enjoys working with parents of babies and toddlers, aiming to help them find gentle solutions to their parenting problems and assisting them in incorporating healthy habits and natural health alternatives into their daily lives.