In this article, we delve into the cause of the coronavirus, how it spreads, the cleaning products that can kill it, and how you can protect yourself and others around you.
What Causes the Coronavirus?
The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is caused by Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 causes a wide range of symptoms, with the most common being fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Rarer symptoms include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and a runny nose. In severe cases, patients can progress into a serious pneumonia-like illness. Unfortunately, many infected people show no symptoms at all early on, which can make it easier to spread the virus to others. As a result, U.S. health officials are advising Americans to prepare for an epidemic — even if you haven’t traveled to one of the affected countries or made contact with people who’ve recently traveled there. And, although you can be tested for the virus, the CDC has not made the available diagnostic exam widely available as of yet.
How is it Spread?
As you’ve probably guessed, the coronavirus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, although there was recently a case in Hong Kong where a pet dog is thought to have contracted the virus in a suspected human-to-animal transmission. But, for now, we’ll focus on person-to-person transmission. According to Harvard University, you can contract coronavirus when you come in close contact with an infected person. “Droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes may land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into their lungs,” the university said in an article published on its website.
But, the coronavirus can also spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects. For example, a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it and then they touch their mouth, nose, or eyes. And, as we stated earlier, the symptoms don’t always show up right away. In fact, it can take anywhere from 3 to 13 days for an infected person to experience symptoms. The good news is that people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic. So, avoiding people who show symptoms can help slow the spread of the virus.
Lastly, it’s important to note that those who are the most at risk of getting sick from COVID-19 are the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart failure, or diabetes.
Cleaning Products That Kill the Coronavirus
Did you know that there are quite a few popular products that are effective against the coronavirus? These products include Lysol Clean & Fresh, Clorox Clean-Up, and Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. But it doesn’t just stop there. In fact, on March 4, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency released a full list of antimicrobial products that are effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Here is a sampling from that list:
-Peroxide Multi-Surface Cleaner and Disinfectant
-Stepan Spray Disinfectant Concentrate
-Klercide 70/30 IPA
-Clorox Healthcare® Bleach Germicidal Cleaner Spray
-Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner + Bleach
-Clorox Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner
-Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
-Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Bleach
-Sterilex Ultra Step
-Sterilex Ultra Disinfectant
-Lysol Brand Heavy Duty Cleaner Disinfectant Concentrate
-Lysol® Disinfectant Max Cover Mist
-Lysol Brand Power Plus Toilet Bowl Cleaner
-Lysol Brand Cling & Fresh Toilet Bowl Cleaner
-Lysol Brand Lime & Rust Toilet Bowl Cleaner
-Lysol Brand Bleach Mold and Mildew Remover
-Lysol Brand Clean & Fresh
-Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Wipes
Keep in mind that you don’t have to go overboard and re-wipe every surface in your home. There’s really no need to even use these products in your home to try to kill the coronavirus if you haven’t actually brought the coronavirus into your home, Dr. Keith Roach, an internist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, told Men’s Health magazine. “You’ve got to think of your home as a safety zone,” Roach added. The best way to ensure that is to wash your hands as soon as you walk through the door.
How to Protect Yourself and Other People
As we just mentioned, one of the best ways to protect yourself from the coronavirus is to keep your hands washed. Harvard University recommends washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If there’s no soap and water nearby, you should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
Other things the university recommends include: avoiding close contact with people who are sick, not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, staying home when you’re sick, covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and then throwing the tissue in the trash, as well as cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. These recommendations will not only protect you, they will protect others as well.
If you work in the healthcare field, then you probably already know that you should consider wearing an N95 mask, which, for those who don’t know, is a respirator capable of filtering airborne particles with 95 percent efficacy. Even if you don’t work in the healthcare field but are caring for someone with COVID-19, you will still need to take precautions. Harvard University recommends that you stay in another room or be separated from the person as much as possible, for example, using a separate bathroom and sleeping in a separate bedroom. The university also recommends that you make sure that shared spaces in the home have good airflow. You can do this by turning on the air conditioner or opening a window. Other precautions to take include wearing a disposable face mask and gloves, not sharing household items such as dishes, cups, utensils, towels, and bedding, washing laundry thoroughly, cleaning all “high-touch” surfaces (i.e. counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, etc.) daily, and, of course, washing your hands frequently.
Here’s something else you might want to consider: avoid traveling by airplane for now. It may seem safe to travel right now, but your best bet is to stay current on travel advisories from regulatory agencies, as these advisories can change quickly. And, if you are exhibiting any virus symptoms of any kind, you should not fly at all. But, if you absolutely must fly, do your fellow passengers a favor and wear a face mask.
Also, keep in mind that some people infected with the virus have no symptoms. So, even if you show no symptoms at all but suspect you’ve been exposed to someone who has the virus, the best thing to do is postpone your travel plans.
Your turn! Tell us how you are preparing to protect yourself from the coronavirus.